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Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Builders: Turn Warranty Data into Actionable Insights


Thinking About Turning Data into a Critical Asset


Data is in abundance and needs to be made sense of in order to realize its full benefits.

Aaron Tan | Executive Editor, APAC

Today, the value of data is well known as effective use can help businesses speed-up decision making and improve the customer experience.

Data...it's out there! Then, what?
But.. some might ask: How do I get useful data? and others might say, There's so much data! How can you maximize both data collection and use so there's a positive business value proposition? 

Taking a Discrete Look at Builder Warranty/Customer Service Data


Many builders provide their homeowners with warranty service after the home closes. Typically, this is a one-year period -- although two-years isn't unknown. During that time, builders manage homeowner requests for repair or replacement. There may also have been a builder/buyer walkthrough collecting issues for resolution prior to closing.

As a result, even the smallest builder has data! There are homeowner requests ranging from leaky faucets to squeaky floors to improperly installed appliances.

Yet, do you know how many faucet leaks your homes had over the last 6 months in the Happy Acres community? How about over the last 3 years? And, how many were due to poor workmanship vs. bad materials vs. design issues? 
Do you know how many leaky faucets happened this month?

If you knew these answers, what would you  do to address them going forward?

And, wouldn't your operations be more efficient and profitable, as a result?

Warranty Management Software Provides Analysis Tools


Warranty management software provides a very effective tool for a builder's operations because there's a large amount of data that evolves as a result of homeowner requests and repairs -- and software provides the tools to take large amounts of data and slice & dice & display for effective use.  There really isn't any additional work required to obtain the information; it's a question of how to make use of it! 

Take the leaky faucet issue above. That issue will be recorded as a homeowner request. Software provides the ability to easily review how many leaks occurred -- over a period of time, community-by-community.

The value proposition is significantly enhanced by adding a second step: why did this leak happen? Poor installation, bad faucets, bumped while doors were installed?

Over time, you'll have the data to know the most common issues as submitted by your homeowners. You'll know facts -- not squeaky wheel problems or the "big" ones! You'll also know why the problems happened.

If you're using an integrated software suite, you'll also know the vendor providing the work so you can address these workmanship or material quality issues. 

Take a look at the tablet above; your team could see what problem categories were most prevalent over the last 30 days (turns out drywall was highest, here); you' be able to drill down for the "why" and vendor, as well.

Warranty Software Breaks Down Data Silos


Effective use of warranty software provides a great resource for a builder to be able to examine their operations as well as providing a good opportunity for enhanced customer service. Interested in finding out how you can turn all those requests & repairs into actionable insights? CPS will be exhibiting at IBS2020 -- or you can request a personal WarrantyWatcher software demo here!






Saturday, November 30, 2019

Keeping Sales Process Momentum Positive Over the Holidays


2019 Market is Strong Heading into the Holidays

We're just about to arrive in a double whammy environment for new home sales: less than optimal weather and many competing activities.

The weather might be frightful but ...
Yet, the overall market is positive: website visits are up, sales traffic is up, 2019 sales results are good.

How to keep the momentum going through the next several months?

Home Shoppers are in Your Office Because They're Interested!


A good first step is embracing the idea that home shoppers are visiting your community because they're interested in buying one of your homes... in many cases, today!

It's true: the weather might very well be frightful (while that is probably true in Minnesota, there are other locations where the weather is much better than July!).

And, recognize the power of inviting; take advantage of the holidays and your locale for inspiration. Hot apple cider makes any location seem like home! Add some fresh smelling citrus to up the scent if you're in a warmer climate! A fresh, new look and feel is contagious... and inviting!

Work Your CRM to Drive Traffic


Did you have a chance to read our Top Performer Blog? Our most effective CPS CRM sales manager's tip for success was persistence with follow-up. 

This Top Performer kept in touch with "his team" using his CPS CRM database -- and there's no better time to reach out than today. Invite "your team" over for holiday treats, coordinate a wine tasting, support a fundraiser for a local food bank. You're working to be "top of mind" for your team and any of their friends and family considering a new home.


After All, You're Prospecting for the Long Haul!


That's a Jeff Shore theme: top performers work the small things over and over. Ryan Taft is one of Jeff's sales trainers; he produced a great Blog reinforcing the small and consistent message:
  1. Do it! (that is: start now!)
  2. Personalize the Heck Out of It! (and the holidays make this pretty easy!)
  3. Be Consistent! (get started, now; keep at it after January 1!)

Consider New Tools in 2020!


Take a look at the IBS2020 Buyer Guide: CPS is listed as a member of the 25 Year Exhibitors Club

We're persistent: we're actually celebrating 35 Years as a software vendor to the homebuilding industry! Join us in Booth SU631 and see how our persistence can help you sell more homes, build more profitably and provide more responsive customer care!


Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Builders: Automated Construction Software Helps Gain Efficiencies

Good News: Homebuilder Order Growth Continues to Accelerate

Have the details at your fingertips!
One of our most recent blogs Homebuilder Construction Rates Accelerating; Let's Talk Efficiency  was developed as a result of two recent Zelman & Associates comments,
"Builder order growth has continued to accelerate; excess speculative inventory has been absorbed and housing starts are picking up to satisfy demand."
"Increasing construction activity always presents the risk of cost inflation and labor tightness."  

Are Your Operations Optimized to Meet the Challenges?

There's nothing quite like throwing ice water on good news, is there?  How are builders addressing cost inflation and labor tightness? Possible to make adjustments and see results relatively quickly?

We'd like to suggest the answer is: YES!

Let's take a look at one of CPS' builder clients currently using our automated construction scheduling software,  FieldCollaborate. When asked how they previously managed their construction process, the CEO replied:
"Email and phone. We were really disjointed. There were disputes among FieldManagers about trades because they didn't know who was working on what, when."

Costs and Labor Can Be Better Managed! 

Sound familiar?  What has changed with the implementation of a scheduling system?
"Because you can plan out jobs far in advance (we schedule out 6 months), builders and vendors can forecast materials, allocate labor toward our jobs, etc. The purchasing team can negotiate better prices with vendors as they're able to pinpoint quantities and timing."

Using a Portal to Helps Get Everyone on the Same Page!

We've also talked about the value of SST (self-service technology; take a look at uses throughout a builder's organization in this Blog). FieldCollaborate offers SST with its Vendor Portal. Vendors, using authorized credentials, are able to view their schedules (as well as drawings, photos, notes and the like) up to 6 months in advance.  Builder staff access the same Portal. Everyone's looking at the same schedule, same calendar, same workload.

Critical is the short-term view regarding efficiency:
"The Portal eliminated a lot of phone calls, texts, etc. That extra time allows us to continue to move homes."
Want to find out more about the efficiency and profitability advantages provided by automated scheduling software? Contact us; we can provide a full-featured FieldCollaborate demo!

Friday, November 15, 2019

Homebuilder Construction Rates Accelerating; Let's Talk Efficiency


Builder Order Growth Continues to Accelerate

Alan Ratner, Managing Director of Homebuilding Research at Zelman & Associates, recently delivered great news for homebuilders saying,
 "Builder order growth has continued to accelerate; excess speculative inventory has been absorbed and housing starts are picking up to satisfy demand."
Isn't this great news for everyone associated with the homebuilding industry?

Yet, Increased Construction Activity Presents Risks

Ratner continues,
"Increasing construction activity always presents the risk of cost inflation and labor tightness." 
 If you've been reading our Blog, you might recall a March 2019 article noting Ashok Chaluvadi's comments in Builder,

A key issue cited by 82% of builders is the cost/availability of labor. What's particularly noteworthy is labor replaced building material prices -- which had been the hot topic in 2018.

Increasing Costs and Labor Shortages Turn Focus to Efficiency -- Particularly SST

This environment (increasing costs, labor shortages) provides an opportunity for builders to laser focus on areas specifically under their control --  operations -- in order to increase internal efficiencies (and, in turn, profitability). One opportunity is automated construction scheduling -- particularly SST elements (that is, self-service technology). 

SST had somewhat of a bad reputation in years past.  It may have tried to do too many things in too disparate ways. However, attitudes change; today, demographics and technology make SST an important tool for home builders as they consider that increasing workplace productivity is the option most under their control, today.


SST implies technology and construction management software leverages SST

An effective construction software implementation gets everyone within the building process (and that includes both in-house and vendors) on "the same page" as to which tasks need to be accomplished, in what order and on what date.

Cloud-based software makes the information available to everyone, 24/7, anywhere anytime. That means you can expect a reduction in delays, dry runs, phone calls, texts, misunderstandings

In a sense, getting everyone on the same page is a good first step in exerting organization control.  Interested? CPS' FieldCollaborate is award-winning automated construction software; contact us and we'll give you all the information needed so you gain productivity while experiencing this order growth!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Builders: Let's Explore Selling and Senses


What Motivates Purchase Decisions?

Have you had a chance to read Martin Lindstrom's Buyology - Truth and Lies About Why We Buy?

It's an eye-opening book describing what influences purchase decisions in today's message-cluttered world.

Our "Other" Senses Are Critical

Lindstrom conducted a 3-year neuromarketing study and one element he discusses is how our "other" senses -- smell, touch and sound -- capture our interest and influence purchasing decisions.

Bring the Power of Touch to your Sales Office!
Two key takeaways for us, today:

  • Smell is closely tied to how we experience both brands and products. On one hand, there are the complex options such as sensory branding (the little things like perfume ads in magazines or flyers featuring shampoo and including scent microencapsules) which are becoming more and more common. Yet, just as important is maintaining the "clean and fresh" scent consumers want to associate with a new home purchase when they enter your sales office and tour your models. There are a variety of ways to accomplish this: you might try several (bowls of lemons/limes, scented (but not lit) candles, cookies in the oven). Lindstrom mentions even the subtlest of aromas can have a potent effect on shoppers.
  • Touch is another key sense. Retail guru Paco Underhill wrote in his bestselling book Why We Buy about the critical importance of touching clothing before we purchase. Yet, are you familiar with how a touch screen experience differs from one using a mouse? Your brain actually processes interest differently when touching a selection as compared to clicking a mouse or hovering over the exact same selection.

CPS' Bob Musa's Book Discusses the Power of Touch in New Home Marketing

Bob Musa, CPS' President, authored an innovative book, Creating Customers with Interactive Digital Signage - we'd love to discuss how the power of touch can be harnessed in your sales offices

Take a look at our interactive touchscreen SalesTouch Case Studies highlighting how single and multifamily builders leverage both the power of touch and interactive technology to more effectively engage home shoppers in their sales/leasing offices. Reach out to schedule a conversation!

Monday, November 11, 2019

Celebrating Veterans Day 2019!

Veterans Day gives us all an excellent opportunity to lift up and honor those who served our country -- as well as recognize and thank those currently serving.

Here at CPS, we also take time to recognize and thank members of the CPS family who have served our country in the armed forces.

Enjoy a Veterans Day Parade!!
First, currently serving: Bob Musa's son, Mike. He graduated US Marine Corps Camp Pendleton Boot Camp in 2016 and he's now at his permanent duty station. Thank you, Mike, for your service!

Remembering the service of:

Bob Strickland, US Air Force

Bob's father, Robert Musa (US Marines, retired & yes; that's 2 generations!)

Chris' father, Michael Lott (US Navy, retired)

Michelle's father, Robert DuBois (US Air Force)

Michelle's husband, Jerry Stone (US Navy)

Sean's father, Chris Miyazaki (US Air Force, retired)

Troy's brother, John (US Air Force)

Zoe's father, Charles Miller and brother, Wilson Miller (both: US Army)

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Builders: Electronic Signature Key to Improving Efficiency & Satisfaction


Builder Hot Topics: Efficiency, Productivity, Buyer Experience


The Solutions Blog has devoted quite a bit of virtual space focused on improving efficiency and productivity -- particularly on the operations side of homebuilding. Take a look at recent Blog articles:

Efficiency, Productivity to Buyer Experience

We've also been talking about the Home Buyer Experience -- before, during and after the new home purchase:

One key concept emerges from all the articles highlighted above: the builder's universe is expanding! There aren't any islands left, in other words! Thinking about buyer experience is no longer limited to the sales office or marketing. It encompasses operations -- from construction to warranty, too. 

Efficiency can be thought of similarly: how long does it take your sales agents to process a sale? Do you have 25-40 documents ranging from Purchase Agreement to Options Orders to Avigation (yes; that's a real word!!) Disclosures?

Document Processing is More than Creation; Consider These Stats


How long does it take for your agent to generate these documents -- and how many signatures are required? Do you realize that 37% of documents are missing a necessary signature, initials or dates?

And, many people don't always consider the post-signature activities required to support documents: that's the proper collection, filing and retention. 51% of businesses report that some or all of the documents needed are mis-filed or lost!

Efficiency, Productivity Moves Beyond Operations!
In other words, are you certain that Lot 55's purchase agreement package is completely processed, stored properly and accessible?

Electronic Signature Can Go Beyond Purchase Agreements!


You're probably familiar with electronic document signature processing as it relates to purchase agreements (CPS CRM, for example, provides seamless integration with DocuSign to obtain signatures for all documents, distribute the documents amongst all necessary entities in a specified order and save a completely executed set). And, the value is not only for the builder: buyers appreciate the ease and ability to obtain and store a full set of accessible, executed documents. That doesn't even take into consideration processing a sale with buyers in multiple locations!

And, have you considered the value of electronic signature for your warranty/customer service operations? Why not provide your customer service rep or vendors with the ability to accept electronic signature on work orders via phone or tablet? CPS WarrantyWatcher does exactly that -- and keeps a copy in the lot's permanent history file, as well!

There's now another touchpoint (or two!!) for improving efficiency, productivity and the buyer experience!