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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Builders: Grab Your CRM Tools for Spring Selling Season!

Might be Frightful Outside but..Spring Selling Season is Here!

We have to admit: the weather outside -- whether you're on the East or West Coast -- doesn't exactly encourage getting outside and going home shopping. Even if you're in Las Vegas -- it's snowing!

Take advantage of slower traffic today & get ready for Spring!
But, why not take advantage of the slower traffic and take stock in preparation for your Spring marketing efforts?  We have some ideas to start generating visits to your sales offices and engaging home shoppers once they arrive!

Start Reaching Out to Realtors & Other Neighborhood Sources, Now

There's a great, recent Frank Anton article in BuilderOnLine noting, "Remember that knowing the ground is a decisive factor not only in warfare but  in homebuilding as well."  

Do you know your local Realtor community? Why not get acquainted and start putting together a "Get Ready for Spring" open house and offer a "spa event" raffle for attendees? Or, a "Wine & Cheese" evening with a case of your favorite? Keep the buzz going: don't stop with one event! If you start now (in dreary February), you'll be ahead of 90% of your competition!

Here's where your CRM system can step in and help! Make sure your local Realtors are in their own section so you can easily email and measure your success in terms of visits, home shopper tours and sales.  Not sure how to do this? Let us know: CPS CRM is laser-focused on co-op agent features!

Start Thinking About Demographics, too!

Don't forget: many Realtors focus on specific demographics or groups -- relocations, ethnic or religious groups, 55+ buyers, etc.  Try reaching out to the demographic-centric agents, often.  They always have a group of interested buyers available to visit your community -- provide them with a reason to stop by -- again and again.  CRM will help here, too: establish Rating groups so you can sort through your database and focus on specifics.

Work to Create a Great Buying Experience

You want to be your customer's #1 choice: what can you do to make that happen? First, embrace the idea that home shoppers are visiting today because they're interested in buying one of your homes. In many cases, today!

Next, we'll suggest that it makes sense to start looking at your sales office as a customer does.  What will help you stand apart so the home shopper rates your community #1?

Think about: what are you doing to create a great buying experience? From the minute a prospect drives (or walks) up to your office, they're using all of their senses to evaluate the experience...from smell to sight to touch!  We'll talk about touch in the next Solutions Blog but.. make sure that your "curb appeal" is upfront, clean and appealing!


Have you seen the stats? Only 50% of home shoppers hear back from the sales office they visited! Even a simple Thank You! gets you in the top 50%! Think about the value of  an automated & templated followup with a short, cell phone video with a quick tour -- you're in the top 10%!

Do you recall an earlier Solution Blog with Ryan Taft's CRM tips? Take these quieter times to start a top performer habit:
  1. Do it!
  2. Personalize the Heck Out of It!
  3. Be Consistent!

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Builders: Tips for Migrating Buyers/Owners to Your Self-Service Options

Self-service is a Preference for Many

We've been blogging recently about the paradigm shift in the self-service concept.  Frankly, it wasn't that long ago that self-service wasn't popular -- for either businesses or customers.

However,  attitudes, preferences and expectations change quickly. One reason is changing demographics; another is technology.

Self-service is one of those quickly evolving expectations.  Today, self-service is not only a solution but a preference for many -- regardless of age. Take a look at the 55+ community in the photo!

It's About Customer Experience and More!

Good self-service platforms can both improve the customer experience and save businesses money.

And, effective organizations are pushing forward with new customer paradigms as they recognize the need to engage customers amidst the current digital clutter is a way to enhance their brand.  

Get Proactive About Offering Self-Service 

It goes without saying that it doesn't much sense to just drop a self-service function into an organization.  The result would probably be similar to that of Coke Classic back in the day!

There are a few ideas that will make self-service work more effectively for your customer and your organization:
  1. Make Self-Service Visible (and Visual, when possible): Sales offices have been challenged to enhance the home shopper experience.  Jonathan Wilhelm suggested, in a recent Builder article, that interactive kiosks provide an enhanced buying experience. Not everyone considers them to be self-service; yet, they're a tool to engage your home shoppers and provide all sorts of sales/marketing capabilities. CPS SalesTouch starts with interactive floorplans and goes from there with drag and drop furniture, local area maps, etc. Design is critical to engagement -- as well as functionality.
  2. Offer Features that Will Maximize Use -- and Solve Problems: Self-service platforms are like any other product -- the more they satisfy a customer's needs, the more they'll be utilized.  Take a look at CPS WarrantyWatcher, as an example.  Not only do homeowners have 24/7 access via a builder-branded Portal to submit requests, they're able to see request status and history. No more calling, voicemail messages, emailing!
  3. Get Employees On Board: Increasing employee buy-in involves showing how your new self-service platforms provide more streamlined processes -- for everyone.  Sure, a phone call might resolve a specific issue for one homeowner but.. help your team focus on how the new self-service platform adds customer value (such as allowing homeowners to submit photos illustrating their warranty issue) as well as business value (employees are better able to focus on "high touch" situations).

Use CPS' Self-Service Tool for More Info!

We try to practice what we write: reach out through our Portal to schedule a discussion or demo here!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Homebuilder CRM Top Performer Tips

Top Sales Performers Are Frequently Top CRM Users

A local Northern CA homebuilder's top sales performer (he's retired now; let's call him Jack for this Blog) was probably the single best sales agent user of CPS CRM.

Jack certainly knew how to work with home shoppers, using CPS CRM loan information to discuss financial alternatives to facilitate the home purchase and taking advantage of the one-stop Contract Wizard to quickly generate purchase agreement documents.

Consider CRM Database as "Your Team"

But, the reason we're suggesting he was the "best user" was his persistence with follow-up.  Because Jack sold homes for about 10-years, he built-up a considerable CRM database of home shoppers and buyers.

Jack kept in touch with what he called "his team" -- sending announcements of new releases to home shoppers and new communities to previous buyers.

He went the extra step to make sure his data was useful so he could send out "Happy Home Anniversary" messages based on their Close of Escrow date. There were no doubt other personalized emails celebrating birthdays, children, college graduations and the like!

Of course, Jack used the "system" to auto-generate all of this followup; he created templates for his followup activities and relied on CPS CRM to keep in touch with his team.

Consistent CRM Use = Top of Mind and Consistent Referrals

The result? Jack was "top of mind" for anyone on his team thinking about a new home -- and he was the recipient of many referrals as friends and relatives started their home buying journey.

Recently, Jeff Shore completed a new sales training series; his latest is Prospecting for the Long Haul (always informative; watch it here). His message: top performers work the small things over and over.  

Ryan Taft is a sales trainer on Jeff's team; he has a great Blog and recently included 3 tips reinforcing the small and consistent message:
  1. Do it!
  2. Personalize the Heck Out of It!
  3. Be Consistent!
Didn't Jack take those tips to heart and play them out, every day? He took the tools provided to him in CPS CRM and was persistent! As Jeff mentions in his Prospecting session, it's the small things that, when practiced daily, generate results.

IBS2019: CPS is Persistent! We're Celebrating 25+ Years!

Take a look at the IBS2019 Buyer Guide: CPS is listed as a member of the 25 Year Exhibitors Club! We're thrilled to be included and invite you to join us at Booth SU631 as we talk about our award-winning CRM, construction scheduling, warranty management software and interactive kiosks! See how our persistence can help you sell more homes, build more profitably and provide responsive customer care.

Friday, February 8, 2019

What Does Friction Have to Do with A Builder Sales Office?

Why Are We Talking About Friction?

Actually, we're going to discuss the lack of friction -- meaning ease and less hassle during a transaction.

How Many Frictionless Features Do You See?
The term "frictionless" as it relates to customer experience has gone through several evolutions according to a recent article by Sheryl McKenzie.

Today, the definition has moved beyond less hassle (everyone expects that now!) to greater personalization and wow! experiences. It also means anticipating -- not just meeting -- customer needs.

Customers Expect Great Experiences & Leave When Friction Appears

Consumer expectations regarding friction impact their level of engagement and their brand experience.

A recent Rules of NextGen Loyalty suggests consumers expect a great experience -- and will won't stick around a brand that doesn't deliver.

McKenzie suggests, "Consumers who encounter friction will run the other way fast, and second chances don't come easily."

What's Next?

McKenzie suggests brands need to create experiences that stay one step ahead of the consumer.

From a builder standpoint, Jonathan Wilhelm says in a recently BuilderOnline article, "builders have the opportunity to distinguish themselves in (today's) challenging period." 

One way, Wilhelm suggests is to stand out with a state-of-the-art sales center that can enhance the buying experience and make a lasting impression.

Isn't that the definition of frictionless!?

Let's Get Interactive!

Wilhelm goes on to say builders should create an experience that engages and informs home shoppers. He explains the necessity of detailed, visual and concise information, the value of interactive presentations, comfortable workstations, etc.

Take a look at the CPS SalesTouch interactive kiosk at a Minto sales center above. Home shoppers are able to review the community, select floorplans, drag 'n drop furniture, mix and match structural options -- basically, start dreaming about their new home and putting the pieces together to make it happen!

That's a competitive edge that helps you, the builder, make a frictionless homebuying experience

More? Look for CPS at IBS2019

CPS will be at IBS2019; contact us for an onsite demo.  If you're unable to attend, we can provide a one-on-one online demo, starting now!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Homeowner Customer Service: SST Preferences Change Quickly

Have you run across Urban Airship? They've just released 2019 Insights & Predictions into Customer Engagement (you can check it out here). 

Customer Engagement Strategies: There are Brand Impacts

Urban Airship suggests the new year is a good time to take a look at current strategies - and that we can never get too comfortable thinking we know what our customers want. Attitudes, preferences and expectations change quickly.

Self-service is one of those quickly evolving expectations.  Today, self-service is not only a solution but a preference for many. 

Urban Airship reports: 

"78% of customers say poor customer service makes them lose trust in a brand"

Take a Look at Mobile and Website Options

How does customer experience, self-service and a good brand image fit together?

Offering your customer mobile and website options, reports Urban Airship, provides an easily accessible solution for questions and support.  Your homeowners want access 24/7, anywhere, anytime!

Access means you're able to provide a more consistent and reliable brand image.  Gone are the missed calls and voicemail exchanges; now, you're communicating directly and resolving issues!

CPS WarrantyWatcher Provides Accessible, Personalized Access for Your Homeowners

Now, take a look at CPS' WarrantyWatcher Homeowner Portal and how it streamlines the builder's customer service process and provides the digital experience that today's homeowners want.
WarrantyWatcher: Accessible, Personalized, 24/7

24/7 access and personalization is critical! Your homeowners have a unique location to report a service issue, receive confirmation of the problem and and appointment for repair.  They're also able to view all previously reported issues and their resolution. All convenient; all 24/7; without any additional work for your customer service group.  In fact, probably less work!

Communication doesn't always have to mean conversation!

Looking to improve your brand image through enhanced digital experience?

Talk to us! CPS will be at IBS2019.  Not able to attend?  Let us know and we'll schedule a one-on-one demo to show you how CPS can provide you with a more efficient customer service process and an improved brand image! 

Friday, February 1, 2019

Have You Asked: What's Our Home Buyer Experience Gap?

Just a couple of Solution Blogs ago, we talked about the how the concept of customer service has transitioned into customer experience -- you can read it here.

Let's focus this Blog on your buyer -- after the time of purchase.

Information Reduces the Gap!

What is a Buyer Experience Gap?

Ask yourself:
  • What would you consider to be a great buyer experience after the Purchase Agreement is signed?
  • What is the actual buyer experience today in your organization?
  • The difference is your buyer experience gap!

Is Communication Part of Your Gap?

Did you see our Solutions Blog: Homebuilder #1 Referral Driver: Keeping Buyers Informed? You can read it here.

That Blog is one of our most frequently read! It starts with Eliant CEO Bob Mirman's statement in Builder and Developer: the single largest referral driver for homebuilders is how well the builder keeps buyers informed regarding the status of construction.

Lack of Information Creates Buyer Stress

Mirman asks us to think of the homebuying process as similar to a hospital stay.  No question: both are stressful! 

Yet, the stress can be mitigated by information

No one, in other words, feels comfortable in the dark. Mirman notes the #1 reason for buyers' Willingess to Refer a Friend is the builder's ability to keep the buyer informed of their status.

Communication Doesn't Need to be Complicated

Mirman points out, You don't need conversation -- just communication.

That's How Technology Can Decrease that Experience Gap

We'd like to suggest technology will provide the tools necessary to improve your communications -- and reduce the gap! CPS' web Portals take information already developed by FieldCollaborate's construction users and WarrantyWatcher's customer service teams and make it available to buyers and homeowners via the Internet.

No additional work required: the construction schedule can be set as viewable for your buyers. Warranty requests, status updates and appointments are available via mobile or desktop. In both cases, 24/7, anywhere/anytime.

Want to up your game, decrease the gap even further? Go the extra step and take stage-of-construction photos and attach them to your construction milestones. Your buyer knows what's happening, fewer trips to the job site, fewer calls --- and your internal team can view them, as well.

How about adding post-repair photos so your homeowner knows how things look before getting home from work? After all, you buyers have Portal access 24/7 so they're up-to-speed as the work is completed.

Referrals are the Result of a Great Buyer Experience

Referrals can be your least expensive source of traffic -- and the most rewarding. Enhanced communications is a win-win as your team communicates results internally and they're viewable by your most important audience: the buyer.