Search This Blog

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Builders: Put Metrics on Your Dashboard!

SST Emerging as a Preference 

Concise, actionable information - 24/7
We've been talking about SST -- that's Self Service Technology -- recently; you can review Solutions Blogs about migrating your homebuyers towards SST customer service options here.

There are a couple of key elements associated with the trend towards SST; demographics and technology. Cloud-based software applications are making information available 24/7, anywhere/anytime.

Preferences and expectations are changing, too; what was once viewed rather negatively is now seen as not only a solution but a preference!

Builders Have 2 Audiences Looking for Information: Buyers and Their Own Team

The benefits of SST apply across the builder audience:  homebuyers and your own team of field managers, operations staff, accounting, corporate management. 

Homebuyers Obtain Concise, Personalized Information via Portals

How can that be? Your homebuyers have access to information through web-based portals with data published through web-based software applications.  It's concise, time pertinent, personalized and available 24/7. 

Portals recognize their participants through credentials. So, it's straightforward for your buyer to locate stage of construction photos or warranty issue status.  They're able to use their phone or tablet and there's no digital clutter: their specific and unique information is presented clearly and concisely.

Metrics Deliver for Corporate Team Members

A business metric is defined as a quantifiable measure used to track and assess the status of a specific business process. Every business area has unique processes that need to be monitored.  Sales, for example, track marketing and social media metrics; senior management tracks key financial results and trends.

Metrics encourage your organization to become more data-driven -- and that's particularly true when SST features are built-in to your software applications.  Think: visual and interactive
Portals: Personalized status 24/7 for your buyers

What might your warranty team need as metrics?  Submitted requests, requests turned into work orders, open work orders?  The team doesn't necessarily want all the details at first glance; they're interested in scope and outliers.

Customer Service Rep "A" has 150 open work orders with 20% over 30 days; "B" has 260 open orders with only 5% over 30 days. That's easily viewable in a pie chart, for example, Then, drill down for details; you might find "A" has a community's worth of "manufacturer microsoft recalls" and is waiting for replacements.  

You're able to locate that type of information using a software-generated visual dashboard such as those provided by CPS' WarrantyWatcher. 

Visual Metrics Focus Attention and Investigation

SST means personalized, concise information 24/7, anywhere/anytime. Setup your dashboard to measure the data that's critical to your business -- adjust the timeframe, drill down for details, focus on what's important, offer Portals to your buyers -- that's CPS WarrantyWatcher!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Builders: Consider Value-Unique Customer Experiences

Good Customer Experience is Appreciated; Noteworthy Gets People Talking

Have you run across Chip Bell? He's an author, speaker and consultant focused on customer loyalty and service innovation.

Bell suggests that good Customer Experience is appreciated.

We knew that, right? Yet, good service rarely results in people mentioning in -- or posting or Tweeting about it.

However, when a noteworthy customer experience moment occurs, people talk, post and Tweet about it all the time. does your customer service become Tweet-worthy?

Move-Up to Value-Unique Experiences

Today, customers expect their experience to be value-added.

Taking what your customers expect and just adding more isn't enough to generate anything beyond satisfaction and.. that's why it isn't generating posts or Tweets.

When customers get more than expected and it's unique and innovative, Bell suggests, that's value-unique.

And, value-unique has a lot more value.  That's when people start talking and Tweeting about it!

Customer Focus Also Drives Revenue Growth

A recent McKinsey & Co. study concluded that customer satisfaction also correlated with company revenue growth. One idea that emerges from that study is the importance of employees as brand ambassadors. What is your organization doing to foster this concept?

Encourage Employee Engagement

One idea is to make sure you're providing the tools to facilitate employee engagement. Implement tools, in other words, to foster employee engagement and, in turn, you'll see value-unique service.

What sort of tools? Keep in mind your customer's expectations are changing at rapid speed. 

Builders must now account for an increasing number of factors ranging from having more information on the website to conversational commerce to providing an engaging in-sales office experience. And, your employees need to take advantage of  those digital engagement tools so your brand emerges as value-unique!

Wouldn't you want to walk into a sales office featuring the Brisas interactive touchscreen system highlighted above -- and see not only gorgeous creative but interactive floorplans, what's happening in the neighborhood and an up-to-date sitemap? Leveraging digital tools such as CPS' SalesTouch doesn't diminish your sales agent's role; it amplifies it by associating the brand with a value-unique experience

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Builders: Increasing Productivity Helps Offset Labor Costs & Availability Issues

Builders Rank Labor Cost & Availability Top Issue for 2019

There's a great article by Ashok Chaluvadi in a recent Eye on Housing article in Builderonline describing anticipated challenges facing builders in 2019; you can read it here.

SST is one option designed to increased productivity
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.

What options are available to a homebuilder to counteract labor's increasing cost/decreasing availability -- particularly in the short run?

SST Helps Builders Impact Productivity

We know the number of trades people is limited; a significant number of experienced workers are "aging out"  and there haven't been enough Millennials entering this specific workplace.
Automated Quality Inspection Tools add focus

SST (that's self service technology) 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 ever emerging 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:
  • SST takes advantage of 24/7 cloud-based information: An effective construction software implementation will get everyone within the builder's organization and their vendors on "the same page" as to what 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 should expect a reduction in delays, dry runs, phone calls, texts and misunderstandings.  In a sense, that's the first step.
  • SST provides a focus on the builder's scheduling process: This might seem strange to be #2 in the list.  However, it's sometimes difficult to modify processes, implement software and drill down into issues all at the same time.  Some builders start operating in a SST environment and then examine what can be done more effectively as they reap the fruits of 24/7 information and a consistent, measurable pace. Developing a schedule provides consistency and accountability; you're able to see (24/7!) the status of every job and employ metrics to highlight problem areas. You should also see the benefits from your vendor's perspective: they can look ahead and plan. You're working more collaboratively! Expect to see both decreased cycle time and a further reduction in dry runs as your team refines their build process.
  • SST facilitates Quality Inspection Tools: We can all agree call backs are inefficient, cost money and can impact buyer satisfaction.  There aren't many things worse than finding punch items at the buyer walk through! Why not add a short check list alongside key tasks that provides an accessible, consistent way for your field managers to evaluate completion and direct feedback for the vendors? If there's an issue, CPS Field Collaborate, for example, auto-generates punch items that are emailed to the vendor and auto-tracked until resolved.  Again, everyone (builders, management, vendors) is on the same page, 24/7, looking at the same issues and focused on resolution. SST continues to provide reminders to your field managers of outstanding issues and continues to email vendors until resolution
CPS' FieldCollaborate is the 3rd version of our construction scheduling software designed specifically for homebuilders and offering the 24/7, anywhere/anytime access we discussed. Interested in finding out how it can increase your team's productivity? Use our contact form to schedule a one-on-one demo.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Why Implement Interactive Kiosks in Your Sales Office?

SST: Attitudes are Changing About Self-Service Technology

Our Blog has been talking quite a bit about SST recently --  that's self-service technology (read here and here). 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.

Interactive meets the need for fast & concise information!
So far, we've focused on the operations side of homebuilding as technology provides builders with a new way to make information available 24/7 to their vendors, homebuyers and staff within their organization as they're able to leverage cloud-based solutions.

It's communication without conversation!

Interactive Kiosks are Self-Service and More!

Interactive technology provides many of the customer service benefits associated with self-service.

Whether your demographic is Boomers or Millennials, your home shoppers want fast and concise information. And, they're interested in content that's tailored to their specific situation: that's personalization! That type of information delivery adds up to a new level of customer service that's actionable and personable!
Interactive reaches across demographics!

Interactive technology goes a step further as it delivers content that's engaging, exciting and impactful.

Why Interactive is a Must for Homebuilders!

First, it's engaging! Take a second to ponder what are you more likely to look at and consider: a static sign with pre-determined messaging or a screen that offers you a choice of content (and that's designed to be tailored to your objective)?

81% of survey respondents say interactive displays grab their attention more effectively than static

CPS has been providing interactive touchscreen systems since 2008 and we've always said: interactive grabs your home shopper's attention from the minute they walk in the sales office door!

And, it's not just that there are gorgeous graphics! Grab your attention means providing the type of information your home shopper is seeking!  They're able to drill down beyond those gorgeous graphics to the details behind your floorplans (yes; there's a Jack and Jill bath; yes: the bonus room can turn into a 5th bedroom!), drag 'n drop furniture to see how your plan fits their lifestyle and email/print the results!

They're locating actionable and personalized information, in other words.  That's what interactive digital technology is designed to provide.  Our next Blog will focus on how exciting and memorable signage will further your sales efforts.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Smaller Builder Part 2: Take Advantage of Knowing Your Ground

BuilderOnLine Talks About How Smaller Builders Can Prosper

Frank Anton had another great BuilderOnLine article talking about smaller builders; you can read it here.
Gear Up Your CRM Reach!

His theme: many smaller builders survived the downturn, they've prospered and can continue to do so.

But, Anton suggests, there are 3 keys to ongoing success and smaller builders should  sharpen their focus on these critical items. Our last Solutions Blog talked about #1: Actionable Customer Service.

Maximize Being at Ground Zero!

Anton reminds: Remember that knowing the ground is a decisive factor not only in warfare but in homebuilding, as well.

Are there actionable possibilities, here, as well?  There are many but we'll focus on sales team actionables to start:
  • Gear-up your CRM software with a focus on local co-op agents: Get creative, make a Taco Tuesday event in the sales center and raffle off a Margarita basket! Co-op agents in many areas are responsible for over 50% of sales traffic.
  • Fine-tune your local agent reach: We've talked about demographically-focused agents (see an earlier Blog) -- they develop groups of interested home shoppers that are always available. Try tapping into several of those groups.
  • Keep up your reminder emails: There's a tendency to think: well, I emailed those home shoppers already...what else can I do? IBS2019 speakers reminded us (and there's plenty of articles about this, as well): one time isn't enough! Two or three aren't either! Develop a set of focused emails and create a campaign for ongoing interaction.

Market Your Ground!

Your Team is on the ground: highlight what they know!
One thing we've learned in the 10 years of providing interactive touchscreen kiosks: home shoppers want to know more about the location! 

CPS SalesTouch provides an engaging way to tell your geographic story and we encourage builders to include items that go beyond the basics: the local craft store, interesting museum, fun restaurant.

Go the extra step and suggest a popular appetizer (one client highlighted a Gotta Try: for each restaurant!) or highlight what makes a particular recreation location appealing (is it the great fishing, the sandy beach or terrific mounting bike trails?).

Reach out and let your home shopper know what's particularly interesting around your community because your team is on the ground and knows it! Your team knows the area so they're able to highlight the local restaurants, unique shopping spots, great recreation areas..everything that helps your community stand out!

Remember: home shopping can be stressful because of the fear of the unknown.  You're building a good product and you want your buyers to know that you care about them. Let your local, on the ground, knowledge help mitigate the stress!

Interested in finding out how you can put some of these CRM and touchscreen kiosk actionables to work for you? Contact us to schedule a one-on-one demo so we can show you!

Friday, March 8, 2019

Builders: Smaller in size? Add Focus to Actionable Customer Service

Smaller Means You Can Be More Nimble

Recently, there's a great Frank Anton article in Builderonline: Three Ways Small Home Builders Can Be Big Winners --  it's worth reviewing; you can read it here.

Anton notes he's "big" on stats & trends -- and in the 45 years he's been around the the housing business, he's usually been on the right side of predictions.  One he missed: how large the "majors" would become.

But, he says, smaller builders and those in smaller markets are in a great position. They're not occupying the same "space" as the NYSE builders.

Smaller Allows You to Focus on Personalized Customer Service

Anton suggests smaller builders have an opportunity but.. they need to focus on key metrics and one of the most critical is customer service. And, to be honest, it is one of the most controllable!

He goes a step further and suggests thinking of the process as concierge service!

SST is a Preference for Many

SST (that's Self Service Technology) provides smaller builders with a manageable way to connect with home shoppers and buyers -- and the price tag is reasonable!

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.

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. 

Use SST as Your Concierge

What? How can SST (that's self service, isn't it??) provide concierge-level service to home shoppers and buyers? 

Your customers want fast and concise information. Communication doesn't have to mean conversation! They're also interested in information that's tailored to their specific situation: that's personalization! It adds up to a level of customer service that's actionable and personable.

Take advantage of technology to facilitate delivery of the types of information that will make your customers feel your attention!

SST Delivers Information Quickly, Concisely and When Requested

What sorts of personalized information can technology provide in this concierge service idea? Here are a couple to consider:
  • Online, real-time sitemaps - Let your home shoppers know the details as to what's available; over 90% are going online so why not provide key info from the get go?
  • Construction status updates - How about using your construction software's Portal to deliver weekly "stage of construction" photos?
  • Stage of the sale updates - Use your CRM system to deliver automated emails letting your buyers know where they are in your 10-point buying cycle
  • Focused Warranty reminders - Setup a schedule using your warranty software for automated email reminders: Fall gutter cleaning, Holiday light tips, Spring lawn advice, Summer air conditioning advice are just a few examples. You might be sending them to multiple individuals but they're offering specific, actionable information that your homebuyers can put to use.

Remember: Referrals are the Most Cost-Effective Source of Traffic

Happy home shoppers and buyers will have you "top of mind" when talking about their home shopping experience!

Interested in finding out more about technology options facilitating this type of concierge service? CPS can help you; contact us to schedule a one-on-one demo and what your customer satisfaction and  referral rate grow!