CustomerInsightTM Blog

Tag Archives: Company Goals

windowcondensation

Condensation – Top of Mind with Homeowners

We all know that Interior window condensation is caused by excessive moisture in the house, and it often occurs in the winter when the warm air inside the house condenses on the cold windows. Exterior window condensation can also occur in warmer months and is simply dew forming when the window is colder than the dew point. However, your homeowners may not know, or remember, when you explained this to them.

At CustomerInsight, we wanted to know how often condensation was mentioned in customer builder reviews and if this was an opportunity to remind customers how to best control this naturally occurring phenomenon.

Here’s what we discovered:
• More than any other time throughout the year, homeowners mentioned condensation on their windows in December and January, a total of 2,574 mentions, compared to 183 times in November, 67 times in February or 11 times in August.

• Of those homeowners who commented about condensation on their 1 month or 13 month surveys during December and January, 82% of the comments were negative. Homeowners felt their builder lacked quality workmanship they were promised or that the windows installed in their home were cheap.

A shocking finding for those who sink their teeth into warranty/post-occupancy service and client care and who field these incoming inquiries. Wouldn’t it be nice to alleviate some of those questions?

If you consider the amount of information we provide to customers, especially during pdi orientation and at time of possession, it’s overwhelming. We all have a limited bandwidth of information we can process at any one time, and for new homeowners, they just moved into a brand new home that carries a 1 year warranty plus extended warranties. They care, but, not so much at that particular time.

At time of sale buyers can be overwhelmed with all the information provided to them.
At time of sale buyers can be overwhelmed with all the information provided to them.

So, the question is, when do they care? The answer:  when it happens. We spend so much time educating customers about maintaining their home, sump pump, furnace filters, HRV, solar hot water collector, to name a few, that they tune out after 12-15 minutes. And if you’re sending information to read that is longer than 2 paragraphs, you may loose them. With so much going on it’s no wonder  they forget what was told to them earlier in the process.  This has  a big impact on how customers rate their warranty /customer service representatives on their post-possession builder reviews.

What can you do?
To understand how we can be successful is to understand the psychology of the customer. Consider when people are looking for a new home, their stress level is low, there’s not a lot of pressure because they are in fact, just looking. However, as they commit, purchasing a new home increases the pressure and stress level because it can’t be returned. Customers can’t use the home for a month or two then return it for a full refund, like many other purchases they have experienced.

Fast forward to the pdi orientation and possession and it’s information overload. How are we helping customers prepare for another transition?

From purchaser to homeownership and maintaining their investment? Some builders feel that providing the customer a 3-ring binder or thumb drive full of information is sufficient. But, it is those who go above and beyond who are winning customer-choice awards and top of mind when talking about how great their builder was. Providing a book of information is not enough and probably the reason why you may have so many incoming calls about the same concerns. What we need to do is have a process that supports the customer when they need the information.

For example, if you have customers taking possession in April – October, they will most certainly forget what you told them about condensation and how to correct it.

We need to remind them. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably been in the homebuilding industry long enough to know what frequently asked questions come to you throughout the year. Therefore, we need to be pre-emptive and remind the customers at the right time. Send out regular notifications to your customers just before something happening. With most customers commenting about condensation in December and January, you could send them a notice in October to help set expectations of what condensation is, why it happens and the best way to correct it.

Doing so will show how much your team cares about the customer, reduces incoming calls, helps keep your brand top of mind and a great reminder of why they built with you over any other builder.

Some of our H.O.M.E. Award winners have shown us the notification they send with a Youtube link about condensation because they know people are more willing to watch a quick 2-3 minute video than they are to read a 2 page notice.

checklist2To some, home building is full of dry, boring material that needs our customers’ attention. We need to understand our buyers’ and how to best transfer our knowledge base so they can maintain their investment.

goals2

Customer Experience Goals for 2017

Customer Experience goal planning was on the list in many company retreats this January. Without a clear CE goal companies, and employees, don’t know where they’re headed and end up, year after year, going through survival mode with a focus on just putting out fires.

Here’s how you can push past just a reactive position:

Set Tough, but, Realistic Goals
We are well into 2017, but, it’s not too late. The first thing to do is think a little about last season/building year. Make a realistic assessment.
Ask yourself the following:

  • What went well in 2016?
  • Where could you improve?
  • Did you and/or your team start strong but fade in a particular community or product?
  • Did you and/or your team feel like you could have been better in a certain area?
  • Did you and/or your team challenge yourself enough, or maybe bite off more than you could chew?

Don’t beat yourself up, but be honest and think about the parts of your company that need work. Remember, improving as a homebuilding company means assessing and training your weaknesses, not just your strengths. No one can be good at everything day in and day out, but the successful homebuilders are well-rounded in all aspects of product, service and process delivery.

2017

Set a couple of Intermediate Goals
for yourself/departments and a major goal for the company. Then, figure out how to achieve those goals.
Reference your mission and vision statement, your customer experience results and ask yourself if the said Goal(s) are achievable. Remember, not everyone on your team can run at a marathon pace, so, setting unrealistic, unachievable customer satisfaction goals in the 90’s when you are currently in the low 80’s might be too much of a stretch.

When you set goals, think about setting SMART goals. SMART is an acronym and mnemonic that provides a framework for thinking about goals.
SMART stands for: Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-Bound. Everyone needs support and coaching to stay focused and help achieve their goals.

Smart Marketing

If the goal for 2017 is an increase in performance of 5 – 6%, your team may need some guidance, leadership, training or coaching to help get them there. Working even harder and doing the same thing with the same outcome can create internal conflict and demotivated staff. Consider those external sources who can provide the skill set to keep your team focused and successful.

Measure what you want to improve:

Assign questions on your customer surveys/reviews to your departments/employees. Doing so will help you drastically improve your customers’ experience. There is a big difference between reviewing how the company performed and measuring individual and/or departmental performance. People become keenly interested when they are measured on their performance.

Include those who build your homes:
Ever hear the phrase, “You are only as good as those who build your homes and manage your customers’ experience”? If you are not extending training, performance results to your trades/supply partners and frontline, you are missing out on a lot of lost profitability. Those companies/people want to perform the best they can for you and your customers. How are they supposed to do that without performance results?

plan

Look at the Big Picture
This is the foundation of keeping track of your progress and accomplishing your goals. A lot of us just go through the motions day-to-day. We are on pure “survival mode” rather than living each day to its fullest. In order for you to start tracking your progress, you must take a step back and look at the big picture with the end result in mind. Take the time to reflect upon your goals and imagine what the big picture looks like. It’s important for you to see the bigger picture rather than just living day-to-day with no direction or motivation. Consider your team members that are probably doing the same thing without clear direction from management.