Everyone knows that water damage requires a fast response. For some damaged materials in some climates, it can be a matter of hours before meaningful bacterial buildup begins the process of rot. And it’s true that everyone knows this – up to and including the owner and property manager for the damaged site.
That being the case, urgency after water damage is always at a fever pitch. Most calls to request water damage restoration are made in a panicked tone, as property owners spin nightmares for themselves about just how much the damage is going to cost. They’re well aware that the faster work begins, the lower their losses will be, so their restorations can be difficult to work into a larger schedule of projects.
Water damage requires an all-hands-on-deck approach, and the ability to scramble resources to a property with little delay. This means having access to extra equipment like dehumidifiers and moisture meters, so you can take on unexpected water damage projects and keep clients happy.
Having access to the right equipment means finding not just more equipment to purchase and keep on hand, but also making note of any rental services or other short-term sources of equipment that might help you temporarily expand your capacity to take on urgent new business. Your company needs to prioritize capacity in both workforce and equipment, especially equipment that will stay at the site for long periods of time.
This is especially true for water damage, since it not only can take long periods of time but tends to occur in bursts; unusually wet weather causes tons of problems simultaneously, but everyone affected wants and needs attention right away.
Only meticulous planning for emergency capacity can prepare you to succeed in the face of that kind of difficult problem.
The even bigger problem for restoration companies is that, even if they manage to scramble and get everything ready for an emergency call, they have still left their employees with an undue amount of stress. This means that employees will burn out more in the long run, constantly having to deal with anxious and demanding clients.
The other issue is client stress; though restoration workers are not therapists, they are often saddled with the need to placate a client and put their mind at ease in the face of potentially tens of thousands of dollars in damage. This is no small feat, and if your worker can’t manage it then you could be left with an disappointed customer, or one who simply thinks they were kept in the dark during a tense moment and an important process.
RocketPlan founder Joe Tolzmann says that “Without being able to communicate to the owners what state of damage property is and what the plan of action entails, the owners are left in the dark, never knowing what if anything is being done. That adds more aggravation and stress to already extremely stressful situation.”
This will lead to lower return business, and eat away at income over time. Water damage restoration needs to be approached with planning and experience, or companies could find themselves slowly losing whatever clients they’ve already managed to secure.
The easiest way to deal with a client’s anxiety is to keep them informed – even if the news is worrying. The simple fact is that property owners will always assume the worst in any situation involving potential expenses so, even if you have bad news to give, delivering the most up-to-date information will help ease the client’s worries.
Knowing projected timelines and getting a diagnosis of the level of problem can be all that’s needed to shore up client confidence. That’s easiest if you have a reporting process that allows you to easily loop in clients by sharing photos, notes, and documentation along the way, de-stressing clients with more information and helping workers save time on client interactions so they can stay on top of all their duties.
It’s also worth remembering that clients who feel they’ve been treated fairly, by competent and hard-working professionals, will tend to reward that feeling even if they’ve endured a financial loss. After all, you didn’t cause the damage to their home; if you keep a client well-enough informed, you could even fail to prevent major damage and still end up with return business in the future.
The problem of dealing with stress also applies to workers, but the techniques for dealing with it are more well-known: reasonable pay, meaningful time off, and a feeling that they are able to bring concerns to their superiors.
If you take the right actions, water damage doesn’t have to be a nightmare – even for the owner of the damaged property.