The Internet has significantly changed the single-family home construction industry, from marketing to selling plans as well as the actual design of homes. Increased competition on the internet causes builders to think about the customer experience for establishing brand awareness and improving the degree of brand engagement on the part of customers.
To attract the new generation of buyers, gain their loyalty and receive their recommendations, every element of the customer experience must be considered.
What is the “customer experience” for a home builder?
The customer experience encompasses a series of customer interactions with the brand and its products throughout the entire purchase process and the customer life cycle. If this is successful, it can contribute to building an overall reputation for excellence.
A home builder must be present everywhere future buyers expect them to be, regardless of the medium, in order to improve contact, accelerate decision-making, ensure satisfaction and then, later, win their loyalty and recommendations.
Why do I need to invest in maximizing the customer experience?
#1 Because your competitors are doing it. At least do it as well as they do!
Many business owners remain skeptical about investing in this type of initiative, especially when client feedback is already satisfactory. Potential gains can seem negligible for a return on investment that’s even more uncertain.
This scenario is especially common in the construction industry and explains why some high-quality builders face difficulties with respect to competitors who are further along in their client relationship management process.
If estimating the short-term impact of the customer experience redesigned through digital seems challenging, on a larger scale, the figures are indisputable: according to a study conducted by MIT and Capgemini Consulting, businesses “who have reached a certain digital maturity” have significantly better sales performance.
#2 To sell more… and better! Word-of-mouth works.
The customer experience has an impact on company results, including overall higher levels of customer satisfaction and an increase in opportunities generated by recommendations.
More sensitive to the quality of the services offered, customers place less importance on the price and are more satisfied with the services they were expecting to receive. Awareness and positive buzz contribute to lowering marketing costs while increasing the number of prospects and facilitating sales.
According to Gartner, 64% of consumers consider the customer experience more important than price when choosing a home builder.
5 basic rules for a successful customer experience during the home construction process
#1 Identify the customer journey
The first step in improving the customer experience consists of establishing a complete mapping of the customer’s journey, from the beginning of their research on home builders to holding the keys in their hands. This overall plan allows you to clearly identify the processes and people involved in visualizing the purchase journey from the customer’s point of view across all points of contact they might have with a builder. This happens especially through the identification of key moments along the journey, potential problems and steps along the way that might jeopardize the relationship with the brand.
The intent of this process is to visually understand all the important details of your customer’s path which impact decision-making within your organization.
Each step should be broken down by putting yourself in your customer’s shoes, so you can understand what they are looking for, how they look for it, what helps to validate their decisions, what you should or shouldn’t do, and why. To advance at this stage, train your employees to see things from the customer’s point of view: develop their empathy and make sure they are committed to improving the process for meeting future buyers’ expectations.
This approach naturally leads to a detailed analysis of the customer’s needs on the part of your employees, and it leads the entire company into a positive dynamic.
#2 Communicate in a consistent manner
Once the customer journey has been defined, you can begin to formulate your objectives for each key step, including the main marketing messages that will address weak points along the journey and bolster your visual identity. Your way of being attentive and responding to your customers’ needs should be consistent through all communication channels.
Perhaps you are currently at the point where all your channels that offer a different experience are not in harmony with one another. It’s time to move to a way of working that enables you to offer a homogeneous experience on all channels and all formats. Start slowly and methodically, and standardize what you have before introducing new elements.
Your website plays a major role in your customer relationships. It’s often the first point of contact between a future buyer and a home builder. At this stage, your objective is to receive requests for information from future customers so you can call them back and prequalify them.
A number of elements will facilitate this first contact and will encourage visitors to fill out a form, including 3D perspectives from the catalog of homes, virtual visits, videos, photos, etc.
To know more:
3 indispensable content pieces for a home builder’s website
Additionally, the best home builders in this arena are those who use data segmentation to improve the customer experience. Using the technology available today, you can create customer profiles even before they request information from your website.
Imagine a social media marketing campaign that includes disseminating ads filtered by geographic area, age, areas of interest, etc. As soon as a potential customer is recorded on your website from this campaign, a pre-qualification is performed. The client is added to a profile type that will be expanded upon throughout their journey.
This information will facilitate the first contact made by the salesperson. This is why it’s so important that it’s easily accessible to all employees in a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) database. This platform, dedicated to the management of customer relationships, allows you to store and sort available information on a customer in order to personalize the relationship as much as possible.
#4 Automate the pre-qualification process
On your website’s contact form, only ask for information that’s absolutely necessary to pre-qualify your contacts during their first phone call.
For an optimal customer relationship, after a request for information, the potential buyer must be contacted again as soon as possible for pre-qualification. The conversion rate is 25% higher if an incoming contact is contacted less than 30 minutes after their request! Following that, the chances of converting them are two times higher if the second phone call takes place within the following 24 hours (Source: Sales Force)
#5 Personalize the experience according to your customer’s profile
Prequalifying the contact allows you to discover what’s important to them. Taking into account their profile and the information collected up until that point, it’s easier to establish a close relationship with them, starting with presenting them with their personalized home project. Showing interior and exterior 3D perspectives that are customized and adapted to their needs gives them confidence in the project’s progress and helps them finalize their decision.