The construction industry has always focused on serving its customers. Core values and mission statements all identify this as a primary key to success.

My experience developing a construction warranty division and working with contractors to create their own warranty success has revealed that serving the customer with a clearly defined specific purpose creates amazing rewards.

However, many contractors don’t have a specific purpose or plan for the post-construction effort, and as a result, they are missing out on a valuable opportunity to gain these rewards.

Warranty is often considered the easiest phase in the construction process, but it can also be the most difficult and, if misguided, can destroy all that your team has worked so hard to accomplish.

Much of what is considered as lingering punch items, if processed properly, becomes an opportunity to solidify your customer satisfaction and retention.

Additionally, a well-defined process can help evaluate your vendors, realize critical quality assurance and quality control, and internally process information—bringing all this great data back to leadership so they can make better decisions and even help market your firm. All of this further enables your company to reach its goals.

Where to start: A great warranty division begins with your company culture and ethics and a solid mission statement that focuses on group success—especially integrity and customer satisfaction.

When your project team knows that the contractor backs them in providing the client with proper attention and support in a new building, that client will usually do a better job. The owner can sense this passion and will naturally reciprocate by wanting to work with you again—and may even become your best marketing voice. The value of an intentional customer-care program, regardless of contractual terms, always gives amazing confidence and returns.

What to do: The internal process of warranty management can provide efficient pathways for everyone involved. To do so, your warranty division must include a structured best-practice, accounting guidelines and designated point person(s), along with checklists and procedures or software to track and capture communications and data.

This is all very manageable and can be created with your team in a matter of a few months.

What we learn: Many leaders tell me they are managing their warranty just fine, and they trust that the teams who build the project are getting it done the best they can. But they have no real information or knowledge to back this up or to ensure this is really taking place. With a well-defined warranty program in place and a management system that includes tracking and recording, you have access to this real data and the immense learning that can only be realized from organizing the post construction phase.

Data and reports are easily available if done properly and can be used to continually evaluate and tweak your program to ensure its success.

As a result, you will win the confidence of your customers and their property managers as well as your team with an organized and intentional warranty program. Customers are more likely to partner with you again when they are supported professionally through the warranty phase.

Don’t underestimate the value of a well-planned and intentional warranty management division.