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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.


2017 HOME Awards are coming!

Bigger and better than ever: we are so excited for our 2017 HOME awards. An event crafted for those who stand out. The HOME Gold status recognizes the best of the best, as rated by their customers. Top performing companies compete for two possible awards, Best Customer Experience and Builder of Choice. A highly sought-after award that is solely based on the voice of the customer.  This unique award deserves a one-a-kind look, so we’re thrilled to show you what went behind the creation of our beautiful new award.

Interesting Facts About the New Home Award


• The designer and artisan of our beautiful statue, Jan Hoselton in collaboration with Jay Hennessy, is Canadian based in Belleville, Ontario and the creators of the CHBA SAM Award for the last 30 years.
• The design team works in collaboration to sculpt each award. Each artisan, uses his/her skill from the molten recycled aluminum pouring stage, through an intensive 7 step polishing/finishing process through to the last hand polish and quality control inspection; and only upon passing a strict quality control, does it have the final approval to be sent for the gold tone and platinum finish and fitted to the aluminum foundation, ready for engraving. Each piece is handled/passed through approximately 12 people.
• Although there are no perfect sculptures, as each one is individually created by hand, there are certain irregularities that to the trained artisan’s eye would be considered not acceptable. The “high five” statuettes present unique challenges due to their shape, colour requirements (gold and platinum tone) and uniquely precise placements on the aluminum foundation. Each award is hand fitted into the “high five” position, without a template, as each piece is unique. The subtle differences, in fractions of a millimeter, can cause the sculpture to not align correctly/not touch at the hands placement. After each award is completed, it is thoroughly rechecked and repolished prior to packaging.
• The designer and artisan captured the essence of HOME Awards, which is based on a foundation of relationships, trust and working together as a team. Symbolic to the builders/companies and their teams of people, it is very important to create amazing award winning homes.
• The inspiration of the infamous “high five” recognition between ‘people’ as a form of celebration and award-winning victory reminded us of how so often, people (sports teams, business team, sales teams, your friends, supporters, team members, etc.) show their enthusiasm, recognition and congratulatory spirit for their success. It’s a true testimony to the builder on their overall year’s success, by way of customer satisfaction, trade colleagues, suppliers, etc.
Our 2017 Home Awards take place March 30th in Calgary, Alberta. There’s still time to register.


Customer service satisfaction survey

The Misconception of Customer Experience

Customer service satisfaction survey

We can all agree that ‘Service’ is an action of helping or doing work for someone.  Service involves such tasks as answering questions, providing  methods and modes of training, complaint handling,  as well as demonstrating how customers can protect and maintain their investment and many more.  Often-times, companies think their customer service representatives/department should also be designing and delivering ‘customer experience’ initiatives, which is drastically broader and involves more than just service.

Here are the major differences between customer service and customer experience:

  • Customer Experience involves planned, intentional service acts that the customer has not thought of or expecting. A good example of this is providing a new innovative tool, like an app, to keep them updated of how to maintain their investment.
  • Customer Experience involves the entire company. Everyone must come together and commit to reasonable and achievable actions that are consistently deliverable and measurable.
  • Customer Experience involves breaking through barriers and setting a new standard. Many builders state that having a home 100% complete by orientation is not possible, but, consider the possibilities and impact on your company if you were able to achieve this. For years, experts said that the human body was simply not capable of a 4-minute mile.  It wasn’t just dangerous; it was impossible. In May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister broke the 4-minute barrier, running the distance in 3:59.4.  As part of his training, he relentlessly visualized the achievement in order to create a sense of certainty in his mind and body. Setting a  new standard is what sets you apart.

To paraphrase Paul Simon, “Sometimes, the issue is simply that their ceiling is your floor. “


Leaving a Legacy


The Mattamy National Cycling Centre is now open in Milton and CustomerInsight is proud to have helped Make It Happen.  The centre houses the only indoor UCI homologated velodrome in Canada and only the second in North America.

It will serve as both a community recreation facility and a venue for provincial,  national and international events, including the 2015 PanAm games .

This is the beginning of a new chapter for cycling in Canada and will stand as a testament to the calibre of Canadian cycling and CustomerInsight is proud to take the lead and be part of this legacy that will benefit Canadian athletes and the community for years to come.

Setting up for the  Canadian National Track Cycling Championships via The Spec
Setting up for the Canadian National Track Cycling Championships via The Spec


Strategic Plan for 2015: Back to Basics


As organizations continue to modify budgets in response to a slower new year, greater attention has been placed on “getting back to basics.”   Focusing on customer service and reinvigorating relationships are part of taking time to refocus attention on the fundamental business elements and habits that may have been neglected.

When times are good, it’s easy to say that we are “too busy” to focus on rudimentary details but, when times get tougher, it’s essential to evaluate those things that made us successful and begin implementing those strategies once again.

As such, the idea of getting back to basics even may need to be incorporated into goal-setting and/or strategic planning activities.

Here are CustomerInsight we’re starting off 2015 by focusing on:

The Basics:

  • Evaluate how we treat and value our customers, employees and trade partners.
  • Focus on ‘custom’ service.
  • Incorporate training and continuing education opportunities.
  • Provide more personalized service and attention.
  • Do not forget to listen to your clients, customers, and service partners.

Bottom Line:  Determine your value added proposition and capitalize on it.