This is a topic, an idea, a concept that you will read about in these blogs often, and you will because it is an issue that is not only critical to our success as an industry but may well be one of only a handful of issues that actually defines who we are and how we are perceived. It’s, of course, the customer experience.
Let us agree that it is not we in the industry that defines who we are and the value we offer, but it is, in fact, our buyers that determine our value. Take, for example, manufacturers that improve their construction methods to offer a more solid home or change insulation materials to make the home more energy efficient; unless the customer is made aware of these changes, these changes only increase our cost, not our value.
The same is true for the customer experience. It, too, can either increase our industry’s perceived value or it can decrease the same. The customer experience is all about how that prospective buyer feels about us as an industry as they engage with us, which then impacts how they feel about our product, namely our homes.
The customer experience begins with the very first touch point. A touch point is anytime a potential home buyer encounters our industry in any way, shape, or form. This will include, but not be limited to, the following. The design and the functionality of a website, be that a manufacturer, a community or a retail dealership, or a builder’s website. How easy is it to navigate and find information? Is the website inspirational? In other words, does it inspire me to take action? How easy is it to request more information? Does the prospective buyer get a response quickly, and will you try multiple times?
Another touch point is when they get a callback or try to connect with your organization. How do you answer the phone? Does the prospective home buyer feel that your team is delighted to help them, or do prospective home buyers feel they are intruding? Do we invite the prospective home buyer to visit our location, or do we just send them to our website or pop something in the mail?
When they arrive, do you make them feel as though we’ve been expecting them and make them feel welcome? If they are a walk-in customer, do we make them feel welcome, and are we willing to give them the time they need?
You get the idea. In the years I have been working with both retailers and communities, here is what I found to be the case way more often than not. What should be happening, what the owner/manager thinks is happening, and what actually is happening are often worlds apart. As I have written before, your success is directly linked to your ability to control the customer experience. Seek to control 100% of what you can control 100% of the time.
As you move into 2023, make a conscientious effort to determine what you want your customer’s experience to be. Whether you are a salesperson, a community manager, an owner, or a sales manager, you ALL are responsible for knowing who your customers are, what experience you want them to have, and then delivering that experience on a consistent basis.
If you would like to discuss this more, feel free to reach out. I promise you’ll be glad you did.