Superintendents oversee the day-to-day operations of construction sites while managing the project schedule, building subcontractor relationships and maintaining quality control. Their influence on and ability to impact the client’s construction experience is unrivaled by other project team members.
What does a truly great client experience look like? What’s the difference between creating a customer for life and just “getting the job done?” We asked two of our outstanding superintendents to share their tips for creating an exceptional client experience.
1. Set a tone of service.
As the job site leader to all project participants, superintendents set the tone for the site. EMJ promotes a culture of servant leadership, which is defined by leading by example and serving others, and superintendents should set that expectation from day one.
To Marcus McAdams, Lead Superintendent, a unique client experience means a customized approach for every project.
“Working individually with the owner is important. Sit down with him and let him know that you are there to serve him and achieve his goals,” he says.
“You represent the client, and you’re responsible for getting the team to perform on his behalf.”
Superintendent Donnie Foreman agrees, “Our responsibility to the client is to hand over what they paid for, delivering a strong return on their investment. If we produce a quality product while showing the values that we believe in, I think we’ve done our job.”
Superintendents are also responsible for creating expectations for clients to ensure that their goals are met. McAdams explains how to work with clients to establish expectations and deadlines for them, saying,
“Once you establish the pace of a job, you create an expectation [for] the client. Clients trust you to value their project as much as they do, and it’s your job to establish firm, reasonable expectations and work with your team to follow through on your commitment.”
2. Live the values of a servant leader.
Superintendents are the face of the construction project. They represent the client, the project team and the general contractor. Strong superintendents live EMJ’s six values of a servant leader on the job site each day. They are honest, selfless, passionate, smart, responsible and gritty.
Superintendents should use these values to create a culture of servant leadership on each job, which builds camaraderie, delivers a unique client experience and produces a product that all team members are proud of at project closeout.
McAdams promotes the values of servant leadership by supporting and empowering his team.
“Be there for the subcontractors, get them to trust you, and build that relationship, firmly, but respectfully. If I’m doing my job right, a few weeks in, they should know that I’ll be there for whatever they need.”
Similarly, Foreman exhibits these values by staying on equal footing with his team.
“If there’s a laborer picking up trash that needs help, I’m right there helping, because that’s what needs to get done,” he says.
By promoting servant leadership to teams by example, superintendents can create a unique job site culture that will have a lasting impact on everyone involved, including the client.
3. Be fanatical about quality.
One of EMJ’s core values is responsibility. We take our client’s satisfaction personally and work to be good stewards by being accountable for our actions, proactively identifying opportunities, and resolving issues and solutions. That means delivering a product that the client and our team are proud of.
Superintendents take responsibility for the entire project team, including errors. But, with due diligence upfront, most mistakes can be avoided. Client-focused superintendents think ahead to foresee obstacles and prevent quality issues.
To maintain quality assurance, Foreman suggests reading the contract documents thoroughly and referring to them and your quality management plan throughout the project. He reads the contracts and pays close attention to details so that he can make wise decisions about the job and ensure the highest-quality work is performed by his team.
Though it’s ideal to be under budget, Foreman adds,
“When clients walk through the building at the end of the project, they are not concerned about money in that moment; they are concerned about quality.”
By setting a tone of service, instilling the values of a servant leader and prioritizing quality, superintendents can ensure that they deliver a unique client experience while representing all that EMJ promotes.
Interested in joining EMJ’s superintendent team? Learn more here.