Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Home Builder Customer Service: Another Referral Source

Did you catch our blog titled Keeping Buyers in the Loop is #1 Referral Driver? You can read it here!
Status updates: 24/7 availability!

We noted that Eliant, home building's largest firm specializing in managing the consumer experience, said in a recent Builder & Developer article that the single largest referral driver is how well the builder keeps buyers informed regarding the status of construction!

That statistic is part of a great article by Eliant's founder/COE, Bob Mirman, noting similarities between hospitals and home builders.

At first, you could think such a comparison is silly; yet, there are striking similarities: patients and home buyers are justifiably anxious, worried, confused and scared as they're involved in an unfamiliar environmentNot for the same reason but.. still concerned. Mirman suggests empathy goes a long way towards making everyone feel comfortable.

Doesn't the same thought apply to your homeowners? They've just made their single, largest purchase and... now, there are some issues!  Empathy coupled with good indicators that progress is being made will go a long way in making the homeowner feel satisfied.

Another Mirman point: the value of contact when delays are encountered -- or anticipated. Are you keeping homeowners in the loop as to status of their service request? Are your employees proactively reaching out?

Then there's the third and most critical point that is striking almost in its simplicity:  impact of status updates. Mirman really appreciated the daily calls from an assigned staff internist. He knew he'd get the latest information and didn't need to worry about voicemails, missed calls and miscommunication through a 3rd party.

Take that thought, apply it to your home builder warranty/customer service department and ask:  how well do we keep your homeowners up-to-date? We'd like to suggest taking a look at CPS' WarrantyWatcher and its Portal.  Homeowners have access, 24/7 and in real-time, to submit a request, view the scheduled vendor visit and review previous requests.  It's their "piece of the pie" automatically generated from use of WarrantyWatcher's customer service software. Service request status is automatic, always visible and available 24/7 -- on your homeowner's desktop, laptop, phone or tablet! 

Homeowners like to feel they made a good decision -- and will talk about it when given a chance. Referrals can be a key sales driver; we can help you make sure your post-sale status updates are one of your referral drivers!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Keeping Customers Happy Even When There Are Lines!

All of us can probably agree: lines can make one grumpy!  And,  lines are everywhere: schools, airports, restaurants, retail stores, government agencies.

Businesses take lines seriously. They have to: no one wants grumpy customers annoyed about waiting times and abandoning the purchase, entirely, because of a line.

Waiting isn't as bad -- there's Friday's Brews & Bites!
That's where queuing management comes into play -- and it isn't just about shortening the line.  Queue theory, a 100-year old field of study, has transitioned from the purely mathematical to more of a psychological analysis of lines and their impact.

Automated line management systems are available to make the wait process more efficient.  Typically, an effective system can provide a 15-35% improvement from end-to-end.  Everyone likes the idea of less time in line but ... reducing a 3 1/2 minute wait by 25 seconds doesn't always register as a significant improvement to the average consumer. It's still a wait.

Just as important -- if not more so -- is perceived wait time -- the psychological component of line management.

There can be up to a 40% decrease in perceived wait time with a good automated line system keeping customers up-to-date about what to expect and both occupied and distracted by marketing and informational messaging.  It's play-off season; who wouldn't mind waiting when they knew they'd see the latest game score? Or, learning about Friday night's free wine tasting!

What's your business doing to keep your lines moving -- and your customers happy?  Take a look at CPS' QuikLine automated line management solution!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Benefits You Can Expect from Award-Winning Builder Warranty Software

It's always exciting to win an award -- and CPS' WarrantyWatcher was selected as a Constructech 2017 Top Product!
WarrantyWatcher: helping warranty operations be more effective!

What benefits can you, as a home builder, expect from this latest release of warranty/customer service cloud-based software?  An award, after all, only goes so far -- there needs to be some meat on the bones!

Home builder warranty/customer service records home buyer service requests, sends out work orders and reports on the results. Those are the basics; when you're looking at becoming more efficient and effective, what does WarrantyWatcher offer?

Why an award? We think there are 3 key points:

  1. There are Buyer and Vendor Portals: Make it easy for your buyers to submit service requests via the internet-based Portal and for your warranty staff to utilize the information. It's not email so there's no double input; just review the submitted request, determine that it's appropriate and go! And, your buyers can keep up-to-date on status through the Portal; think of how many phone calls, emails, texts that will be eliminated! Vendors are able to pick-up their work orders through the Portal, indicate availability and, even, receive drawings, photographs or other documents. 
  2. WarrantyWatcher is platform agnostic with 24/7, real-time access: That's a bit techie sounding but it means that your staff can utilize the software in the office on their desktop or in the field via tablet or smartphone. And, real-time information is available, 24/7. No waiting for updates or only being able to view some of the information. Responsive design means the view responds to the device in use.
  3. It's part of CPS' Enterprise software: Warranty/customer service operations typically take place after the sale closes. All sorts of buyer and construction events have already taken place -- and CPS Enterprise integration means they're available for warranty staff to utilize. Plumbing problem on Lot 47? If your construction operation utilized CPS' FieldCollaborate, you'd already know that Phillips Plumbing worked on Lot 47 (having replaced Standard Plumbing) and that there were upgraded faucets selected in the Design Center through CPS•CRM use. Everyone shares information -- maximizing communication and minimizing inefficiencies. 
Of course, there are all sorts of other great features: an administrative dashboard highlighting your Top 10 problems deserving attention, automated vendor follow-up, Quality Inspection templates for walk throughs -- even integration with Survey Monkey to solicit home buyer's opinions. Let us show you the meat behind the award!





Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Homebuilders: What's Different About 2017?

Interesting John McManus article in a recent Builderonline titled: Spring 2017: A Different Market. Take a look here.

FieldCollaborate: Tools for Today
McManus suggests that the just out of recovery market of 2 years ago is no longer.  Previously, demand for new homes was from the higher-end buyer.  Buyers weren't too concerned about qualifying and had definite ideas about what they wanted in their new home. To some extent, pricing was elastic.

Today, McManus says, it's a different market.  Now, the growth spot is lower-end, further out geographically with lots of communities open and selling homes. More competition, in other words, with a clear focus on price.

The change has put lots of stress on builders.  Lower sale price homes dictate a focus on margins. Costs are going up. It all translates into more of a push for volume.

McManus quotes a builder: We haven't spent so much time and focus on start-to-completion cycle times in six or seven years as we are right now.  It's really basic stuff of doing what we do, only doing it better and faster. Otherwise, we can't get the margins we need.

This type of market needs tools to help manage, measure and report.  Take a look at CPS' FieldCollaborate -- construction software designed to help you define, track and analyze your cycle time and highlight problems meeting your goals.  Improve communications -- both internally and with vendors. Reduce callbacks with task-specific quality checklists. Keep your field managers off their phones with automated followup and reminders.  We can help you meet the challenges presented in today's market.


Monday, April 17, 2017

Exploring Lifestyle When Marketing Homes to 55+ Shoppers

There's an eye-catching article in the recent Builderonline.com: Remember Wine is Divine When Selling to 55-Plus.
Marketing to 55+: Let's Talk Celebration!

Who could resist a deep dive to read the article after seeing that headline?

Author Deryl Patterson talks about incorporating wine into home design, the sales center and community club house and suggests boomers look at wine differently than other generations. Wine, Patterson says, is more than a beverage -- it's a universal symbol for celebration.

He takes that point further in his marketing to 55+ buyers: make it fun! These buyers are looking for something more than square footage, number of bedrooms and whether or not there's a basement lot available.  This home purchase is about their next life step and realized lifestyle.

It makes sense to help home shoppers visualize the lifestyle available within your community: let them virtually explore community amenities and the surrounding neighborhood.  Focus on the lifestyle options: recreation, shopping, dining, community involvement opportunities.

CPS' SalesTouch provides an engaging and informative exploration with a touchscreen-based presentation.  Community amenities and neighborhood points of interest can be explored at a touch -- with visually engaging photos, video and copy. Engage your buyers with the vision!  It might be sailing at one community -- and the rodeo at another!

While not everyone is a wine drinker, in other words: everyone loves a celebration!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Creating Effective Customer Experiences Using Technology

Take a look at the photo attached to this blog: doesn't it seem that the technology employed at the sales office is doing its job? The home shoppers are comfortably engaged in exploring and finding out more about the product!

CPS SalesTouch: Helping home shoppers engage and interact!
And, doesn't that statement address what James Bickers, Contributing Editor at DigitalSignageToday.com suggests are the goals of a successful customer experience:
  • accomplish the task at hand; and
  • make the customer feel good about how it is accomplished.
Bickers goes on to say that the task (in this case, introducing home shoppers to a new community, its amenities and floor plans) might be to speed up a transaction, solve a problem or... just give the customer a great time. 

We'd like to think the SalesTouch interactive presentation meets all three of these objectives in an engaging, easy-to-use manner.  Bickers goes on to say:
Customers are increasingly aware of the physical and emotional context in which products and services are delivered.  This is the customer experience -- and it is something businesses ignore at their own peril. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Take That Wall and Make It ... a Dynamic Marketing Tool!

Video walls are becoming increasingly popular as a way to attract and engage customers.  They draw people in, according to Richard Slawsky in a recent Digital Signage Today article, immersing them in a brand or experience.

Why not take that unique marketing concept and expand it to include a dynamic, interactive communications tool? Author Micah Friedman, with Cognizant, suggests the need to continuously develop new business and operating models to better deliver on customer needs and desires.

What's critical, according to Friedman, is considering multiple ways of engaging customers with a richer, customizable and frictionless experience.

One focus point is optimizing Social MediaHere's an opportunity to understand customers better (by evaluating their tweets and posts, for example) as well as providing a mechanism to shape how customers perceive them and their offerings.

Take at look at CPS' Social Media Wall in a new master plan community information center.  It's visually welcoming and designed to engage visitors from the moment they walk in -- delivering traditional marketing copy and community images side-by-side with consumer generated content.  Have a special event planned? Assign a unique hashtag, start posting information about the event and, at the event, ask attendees to submit pictures and comments.  Result: a shared,  creative process fostering an ongoing conversation!

And, the Social Media Wall can include video, as well!