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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!

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Homebuilder Customer Service: A Critical Link

Homebuilder Customer Service is a Hot Topic

We've been talking about homebuilder customer service frequently this year; you can see earlier Solution Blogs here (Putting Metrics on Your Dashboard) and here (Add Focus to Actionable Customer Service).

Is Customer Service a Priority?

Value-Unique Motivates Referrals

Today's homebuyer and homeowner expect to receive a quality customer service experience. What will set your team apart is a value-unique experience. That's service that will generate posts, Tweets, and, most importantly, referrals. How to get value-unique?

Are You Prioritizing the "Most Important Department"?

There's a new Hanley Wood Construction Wire article asking, "What's the Most Important Department in Home Building?" and customer service emerges as a top contender! Author Jim Haffner points out that the "last person who interacts with customers leaves a lasting impression."

That doesn't mean that sales or construction (or estimating or accounting, for that matter!) aren't important. What it does seem to highlight is that customer service needs to be considered a critical component of the entire building process -- and that, sometimes, it is regarded as an afterthought.

Metrics: Effective Measurement Tools!
The last contact point can offer the most memorable experience -- frequently because your homeowner expected everything to already be in tip/top shape. No one likes to have to reach out for repair but... it does happen.

Go Quick, Consistent and Memorable

Why not make it as easy and straightforward as shopping on Amazon? CPS WarrantyWatcher provides a 24/7 Homeowner Portal so owners can quickly and easily submit a request directly to the customer service department -- complete with photos! And, they're able to use the same Portal for status updates and request history.

Go the extra step and ask your customer service rep or vendor to include a photo so they're able to check things out on their phone on the way home... isn't that value unique?

Key customer service terms: quick, consistent and measurable. You're able to take care of quick with the 24/7 portal! WarrantyWatcher also provides the metrics that allow for measurable! Do you know your longest outstanding Work Order? How about the most frequent warranty issue? How easily could you locate homes with a recalled microwave? Usable data is your friend in these cases!

Finally, there's the value in consistency as it will pay off in referrals. Your homeowners need communication -- not necessarily conversation! Keep them informed and they will be comfortable with your process -- even if that replacement part is taking time to arrive.

Technology Provides Desired SST

Technology facilitates your ability to deliver on your homeowner's expectations and there's really no other way to meet their need for SST (self-service technology). A recent Radial article summarizes:

Self-service channels consistently outperform other channels in terms of consumer satisfaction. Your homeowners love self-service because it reduces friction and provides immediate and consistent answers.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Builders: Buyers are Expecting an Enhanced Sales Office Experience

Consumer Expectations Are Changing Rapidly

Our Blog has focused on SST recently --  that's self-service technology (read here and here).

Your Buyers are Looking for Information!
Self-service hasn't always had the best of reputations; however, attitudes, preferences, and expectations change quickly. One reason is changing demographics; another is technology.

In other words, today, self-service is not only a solution but a preference for many. 

Customer Satisfaction is Driving Kiosk Implementation

SST isn't happening in a vacuum, however.

Improving customer satisfaction and customers' perception of the business are top reasons for deploying digital signage. Enhancing the customer experience, improving the customer journey, is driving the transition from a static, pre-set experience to a dynamic, immersive sales office environment fueled by interactive kiosks. 

Meet Your Home Shoppers Need for Information and Lifestyle

CPS has been providing interactive touchscreen kiosks to homebuilders for the last 10 years. We understand what's involved in providing an exceptional, end-to-end experience (in this case, that includes the customer and technology).  

Encourage Your Buyers with an Intuitive Process
Here's what we've learned about improving the customer experience and interactive kiosks:
  1. Interactive -- coupled with dynamic creative -- engages shoppers from the minute they walk in. 
  2. Home shoppers want your product to meet their needs so give them the information to make that happen!
  3. A recent Metrostudy Consumer Insights series affirmed Location & Home Design to be the most significant motivators so use interactive floorplans, drag 'n drop furniture and interactive local area maps with great-looking graphics to tell your story!
  4. The kiosk process needs to be so intuitive that your home shopper wants to engage.  Don't make it too complicated or geared towards sales agent operation!
  5. Interactive is age-agnostic! Boomers and Millennials want information -- the type may vary but they're both trying to visualize how to your community and homes meet their objectives!

Visit CPS at PCBC 2019

We'll be at PCBC 2019 in San Francisco starting May 29; visit us in Booth 141 or contact us for a one-on-one demo to see how we can work together to create an enhanced customer experience!

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Memorial Day 2019: Remembering Service & Sacrifice

President Harry Truman's Memorial Day message to the nation is as appropriate today as it was in 1945:
Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices. 
Vietnam Memorial, Washington DC
Additionally, here at CPS we take every Memorial Day as an opportunity to recognize and thank service members associated with the CPS family:

Bob Musa's son is currently serving in the US Marine Corps; Mike is at his permanent duty station in North Carolina.

We honor the service of:

Bob Strickland, US Air Force
Bob's father: Robert Musa (US Marine Corps, retired and 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)

Did you realize 50% of today's high school youth aren't aware of World Warr II? Why not take the time to encourage friends and family to remember -- with a bbq, picnic, memorial park visit or concert, join a parade or run a race to support fundraising efforts?

Let us know who you are remembering this Memorial Day!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Customer Service: Expand Beyond Vanilla!!

Chip Bell Talks Out of the Box About Customer Service

Chip Bell, a well-known authority on customer loyalty and service innovation, has some interesting thoughts regarding customer service:
Outside the box customer service = retention, referrals!

Make Service Neopolitan, Not Vanilla!

Bell suggests: Walk on the wild side with your customers! In other words, provide a customer experience that is not only good but innovative -- which translates to meet customer expectations and then go for the unexpected!

Innovative Service Brings Rewards

What's interesting about customer service, from Bell's perspective, is a quality service experience will be met with customer loyalty and Tweets, referrals and all sorts of positive items for the organization.

Homebuilder Opportunities to Deliver More

How can you step out of that Vanilla box
  1. Key customer service terms: quick, consistent and measurable! Do you know the average age of your homeowner warranty request? Can you drill down and find out how many times broken windows were installed in your community? Information (or, data) is key to being able to provide consistent, quality service.
  2. Make your warranty process frictionless! Does your homeowner need to call between 8-5? Or, submit a written list of issues? How many times does your team trade voicemail messages? Do they know what's scheduled? Keeping homeowners informed is the single best way to obtain referrals!
  3. Keep your vendors in the loop, 24/7 -- and make that process as easy as possible. Typically, vendors have their own processes and you can't really customize yours for each of theirs so make sure your vendors have everything they need anywhere/anytime, 24/7. Work orders, drawings, photos, contact info.

Software Will Help!

Homebuilder customer service is a day-in/day-out process. You'll want to have tools to expedite the heavy lifting so it's possible to move beyond vanilla!
Frictionless is 24/7 Homeowner Access!

CPS WarrantyWatcher provides cloud-based warranty management that's available 24/7 on all platforms (tablet, phone, desktop) so your team and vendors are able to respond quickly. And, your homeowners get a seamless process, too with 24/7 access to submit and monitor their requests!

Visit CPS at PCBC 2019

We'll be showcasing WarrantyWatcher at PCBC 2019 May 30-31; visit us at Booth 141! Or, reach out to us and we'll schedule a one-on-one demo.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Delivering an Exceptional Customer Experience

What's a Value-Unique Customer Experience?

Do you recall one of our Blogs regarding Value-Unique customer experiences? You can read it here.

Creating an environment to visualize the future!
Those experiences are when customers get more from their purchase and process than they expected and it's unique and innovative. When people encounter a value-unique experience, they're super enthused and want to talk and Tweet about it!

You not only have a happy customer but one that's actively engaged in marketing for you!

Designing for Exceptional Customer Experiences

How can you provide value-unique? Joe Schultz, VP Sales, Harbor Retail, recently provided some interesting thoughts regarding delivering exceptional customer experiences. Key, he says, is thinking about items that enhance selling probability.

It's more than product and not necessarily your sales team, in other words, although those could be critical drivers. What does success look like? Are you trying to educate, show off your latest design, provide product differentiation? Analyze your objectives: once they're clear, you're able to create an environment that makes success possible

Consider Customer Experience Strategies

Take a look at the photo above: aren't those home shoppers engaged in evaluating what the homebuilder is offering? In addition, don't they look comfortable?  Don't they look like they'd be happy spending time finding out more about this product?

Schultz suggests several items to consider when developing a customer experience strategy. We'll focus on two:

(1) See your space from a customer's perspective.

The interactive touchscreen kiosk that's part of the builder's customer experience center is accessible and easy to navigate -- even when there are 3 people present! We frequently say it's encouraging home shoppers to cozy up and find out more! 

(2) Give your customers a glimpse of the future.

CPS' interactive system, SalesTouch, gives home shoppers an easy-to-use way to visualize their new home with interactive floorplans and drag 'n drop furniture. 

In other words, the floorplan is no longer a brochure or an image on the wall: home shoppers are able to mix 'n match structural options (den in lieu of bedroom 3, expanded kitchen island, covered lanai) and then drag furniture into their created space.  They're able to visualize how this floorplan will live; it's become "their" home, in other words!

Interested in finding out how you can create value-unique homes shopping experiences? We'd love to give you a one-on-one demo; let us know a convenient time here!

Friday, April 12, 2019

Builders: Let's Add Pets and Up Your Marketing Program!

Furry family members are influencing home-buying decisions!

Did you see the results from a recent SunTrust Mortgage:

33% of Millennials purchased their new home to have more room (either an improved space or yard) for their dog?

Let's call this a Pet Welcoming community!

What are you doing to make this important connection for home shoppers?

A super interesting article in suggests Millennials are particularly focused on including pets in their homebuying decision-making. FushionHappens asks: what are you doing to make this important connection:

  •  Are you offering low-maintenance flooring?
  • How do you message pet owners?
  • Do you include happy dogs and owners in your ads and on your website?
  • What about dog parks?
CPS SalesTouch is an interactive touch-based kiosk system designed to engage home shoppers from the minute they enter your sales office; don't you think this pet-friendly Parks & Trails section at Newland Communities' Tehaleh encourages a new pet-focused visitor to consider their community?

Go the Extra Step: Talk About How Your Floorplans Fit Their Lifestyle!

Millennials (and Boomers, by the way) are particularly interested in how a new home fits their lifestyle. For some, a family-focused kitchen is critical. For others, it's the "extra" room that can be a craft space, or a tasting room or a "man cave."
Yes! There's a Pet Room option here!

And, for pet owners: do you offer doggie doors or dog washing areas?

There's a great way to enhance your marketing for these lifestyle-focused buyers: interactive floorplans

Let your home shopper try out lifestyle ideas with touch and mix/match structural options and drag 'n drop furniture. Consider something as simple as re-purposing the "mud room" label!

There's nothing better for a potential buyer than seeing that you recognize their lifestyle is important. You might not know which element is critical but offering your buyer with the ability to visualize it is critical

Add Lifestyle Visualization to Your Sales Offices!

Interested in finding out more how you can help buyers see how your homes meet their objectives? CPS offers one-on-one demos; use this form and we'll schedule one with you!