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Monday, March 31, 2014

What's Trending for Customer Service? Think Proactive, Omnichannel

It's been said that effective customer service is both a strategy and philosophy as much as a major business function.  As a result, it makes sense to monitor trends and understand new channels in order to evaluate whether it makes sense to modify your customer service strategy. We've seen two major trends emerge over the last year:
Interactive Touchscreen: Proactive Customer Service

(1) Proactive interaction -- Most agree that customer service shouldn't focus only on "putting out fires." It's about developing relationships from the first point of contact. Providing proactive interaction shows you support your customers and reduces the number of fires long-term.  Utilizing"self-service" throughout your engagement process allow customers to interact at their timing. You'll start the conversation as your consumers provide feedback, suggestions and requests ahead of a critical item. Using technology (such as a knowledge base) lets your customers engage with you and each other. Your customers will tell you about their interests and concerns when presented with the ability to interact.

(2) Omnichannel customer service -- Zendesk reports 2014 is shaping up as the year of omnichannel. An interesting blog suggests consumers are becoming more comfortable interacting with companies via email, phone, in store, etc.  What's really interesting to read is how companies benefit when providing multiple engagement channels -- that is, there are economic benefits: 75% of

Monday, March 24, 2014

Kicking Off Spring's Selling Season

Are you ready to kick start your Spring selling season?

Yes; for many, it's been a long, cold winter with ice storms, record cold and history-busting snowfalls. Hopefully, we're past the worst of that and can start generating Spring marketing efforts.  Here are several that should resonate and can start generating visits to your sales office:

(1) Reach Out to Realtors -- We've talked about the value of co-op agents before (take a look at an earlier Solutions blog entry --  Builders, Co-Op Agents: Reaching the Asian Community.) 
Co-op Agents: Give them a reason to visit!

BuilderOnLine reports Spring is the busiest season for Realtors and suggests offering incentives to make sure they spread the word about your community.  How about putting together a "Get Ready for Spring" Open House -- offering a "spa event" raffle for attendees?  Or, a "Wine & Cheese" evening with a case of your favorite?  And, keep the buzz going: don't stop with one event!  Follow-up with emails announcing the winner and promoting your next event -- as well as your community.

Don't forget that Realtors often focus on a specific demographic -- relocations, ethnic or religious groups, 55+ buyers, etc.  Reach out to these demographic-centric agents, often.  They always will have a group of interested buyers available to visit your community -- provide them with a reason to stop by.

(2) A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words --- Mollie Elkman, a Philadelphia-based marketing expert, reminds us that pictures offer "virtual curb appeal."  Why not take one step further and Go Interactive with a touch screen system? 
Go behind the walls -- and beyond the floorplan!
You'll start engaging prospects from the minute they step into your sales office and can continue the conversation with interactive floor plans, the ability to select and place furniture inside your homes and e-brochures. 

Take your home shoppers "behind the walls" and visually talk about your location, amenities, and features.  Show them you're "in the center of town" and what that offers -- or your rural location and the great amenities provided by the HOA. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Bringing Green Out from "Behind the Walls"

Incorporating green into building has been gaining momentum -- particularly, according to a recent Constructech article -- among residential homebuilders.  Builders, says Constructech, can market green from a cost savings perspective -- thus, a gaining a competitive value add in the marketing equation.
What drives consumer interest in green?

A recent Navigant Research study (discussed in a Constructech article here) suggests home energy-management systems have had a difficult time gaining traction in the market. But...Navigant suggests increased awareness will drive future growth.

How can you provide the critical increased awareness so your home shoppers will want to buy-in to your energy-saving options?  Take a look at what Navigant says are the primary drivers: the desire to reduce electricity bills as well as utilize smart thermostats.

Consumers have signaled their interest -- how are you responding?  One great way to