Last updated September 8, 2020
The homebuilding industry is buoyant. Some years market demand is high and selling is easy, some years the market is challenging and buyers aren’t biting. The impression builders make with customers, however, lasts forever. Homebuilders who truly care about their customers’ satisfaction not only see growth in prosperous seasons, but will often continue to succeed when the market shifts and times are tough.
How do they achieve this consistency?
They invest in Customer Experience Management (CXM).
Why is CX management important for homebuilders?
If 21st-century consumer culture has taught us anything, it’s that the most successful businesses thrive not just because they put the customer first – but because they let the customer lead.
Online reviews and ratings have completely evolved the way businesses and consumers interact. Historically, consumers were more likely to stay loyal to a brand that provided consistent quality service and fairly priced goods. But as consumers change, so do their expectations.
Now, people want personalized, interactive, and proactive experiences. This is particularly true with high-impact purchases like buying a home. Buyers want to feel heard, valued, and connected to a company – not just given a good deal – making brand loyalty harder to achieve than ever before. Consider the growing numbers of competitors and an increasing amount of innovative approaches to engage target audiences, and it becomes clear that it’s not enough to have a better product – you need a better overall customer experience.
In fact, a study found that 76% of customers will take their business to multiple brands until they find an experience that meets their expectations.
76% of customers will take their business to multiple brands until they find an experience that meets their expectations.
By managing your customer experience, you’re listening to the voices of your buyers and prospects to not only shape how you do business with them, but how you strategize every facet of your operation going forward. This strengthens customer relationships, making it easier to grow and scale your business. Here’s how CX management can impact your success:
- Increases Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): The experience a homebuyer has with their builder, even for a one-time purchase, is just as impactful as the experience a repeat-customer has buying goods or services. Homebuying culture has shifted from homeowners staying in the same home throughout their lifetime to owning multiple houses (sometimes at the same time). For mid to large builders this has resulted in a new focus on engaging repeat buyers to create “customers for life”.
- Decreases customer acquisition costs: Obtaining a new customer costs five times more than retaining one and a single buyer’s review of your business can directly affect the potential for future referrals. Investing time and resources into maintaining great relationships with your homebuyers, real estate agents, and brokers will help you earn more referrals and repeat business without breaking the bank on new lead generation. How much of an impact can this make? Referrals have a 30% higher conversion rate than marketing channel leads and a 16% higher lifetime value.
- Improves Net Promoter Score (NPS): Traditional marketing doesn’t work like it used to. Statistically, 3 in 4 people say they ignore advertising altogether. Consumers are placing increasing value on the opinions of their peers to make purchasing decisions. Improving your customer experience increases your customer satisfaction, directly affecting the likelihood that customers will happily recommend you by word of mouth and with positive reviews and ratings.
- Separates you from the competition: Customer experience insights can help you build a more customer-centric company. By listening to the needs of your buyers and actually implementing changes to the way you do business you’re differentiating yourself from competitors who aren’t putting in the same effort to nurture their customer relationships – and customers will take notice. 93% of customers are likely to be repeat buyers when they have an excellent customer experience.
- Influences company-wide improvements: By managing your CX, you gain key insights to pinpoint the exact areas your business needs to improve, and use this feedback to implement more innovative and customer-focused processes top to bottom.
- Boosts employee morale: Happier customers often result in happier employees. When you focus on creating a positive customer experience and proactively take care of problems, you receive fewer complaints. With higher employee satisfaction you’ll ultimately deliver better customer service.
93% of customers are likely to be repeat buyers when they have an excellent customer experience.
The benefits of managing your customer experience are undeniable, but one question remains: should you invest in a third-party CX solution to gather, measure, and analyze customer feedback for you?
Yes, you should. Let’s talk about why.
Why 3rd party CX management is worth the investment
When it comes to delivering an incredible customer experience, it’s not enough to throw ideas at the wall and see what sticks. You need to know exactly what your customers are saying and have a digital system to organize that data efficiently, so you can make informed decisions on what needs to evolve in your business and why. That’s where a third-party CX platform comes in.
Why you should consider using one:
Focused efforts on the right topics
Not all industries are created equal. The type of data a retail brand needs to collect and analyze to improve their customer service will not be the same data a homebuilder requires to improve buyer satisfaction. Third-party CX software companies understand the data needs of individual markets. This is especially true for providers who serve a specific niche.
CX management companies have dedicated ample time and resources to discover what data matters most to each industry, so you can be sure you’re collecting the right information to evaluate your customer experience and make informed decisions on where you need to give more effort.
High-quality questions and validated scales
Creating an effective customer experience survey is not as simple as it looks either. To gain the most useful and eye-opening insight, every survey question must be carefully crafted, then tested and validated for reliability.
How you ask questions, what order you ask them in, and what language you use are all significant factors in receiving quality, unbiased feedback. One major pitfall businesses face when they produce their own CX surveys, is bias. Inexperienced survey creators can unintentionally lead a survey taker towards one answer versus another – usually the answer more favorable to the company – simply with the way they word a question.
This mistake can lead to an over-reporting of positive experiences, under-reporting of bad experiences, or both. In any case, the business is not seeing an accurate representation of their customer experience, which will directly and negatively impact their ability to improve it.
Using a third-party CX software, all questions are structured to be void of bias and standardized for your industry, meaning feedback will be credible and relevant to you.
Benchmarking and comparison capabilities
Benchmarking is the ability to compare your performance with that of your competitors and peers, based on a larger database of information collected through standardized survey questions. It’s one benefit to know what your customers are saying about you, it’s another to understand your relative performance to similar homebuilders in your region, or even nationwide. An isolated survey score just doesn’t give you that big picture story a score compared to industry averages does.
For example, you could have an 85% customer satisfaction rating and feel great about that, until you compare yourself to similar builders in your area and see they all score above a 90%. It’s small details like this that make a third-party CX manager an incredible tool for improving and growing your business.
Because a third-party CX platform uses the same tested and validated survey questions for everyone in the database, you can make direct comparisons like this. That would be impossible to achieve doing surveys on your own.
Eliminated time and resource constraints
The time and money required to create and evaluate high-quality customer experience surveys on your own is alone a great reason to invest in a professional service. Successful customer experience management is not a “one and done” solution. Effective CX survey campaigns require trial and adjustment, just like any marketing initiative. Surveys must be time-tested with multi-modal structures to reach optimized response rates, while minimizing opt-outs and respondent fatigue. It’s a well-documented phenomenon for participants to lose motivation and attention during the survey-taking task, causing a deterioration in the quality of feedback they provide.
Successful customer experience management is not a “one and done” solution. Effective CX survey campaigns require trial and adjustment.
This work is cumbersome and requires an experienced CX solutions team that can dive into the details and nuances of survey design, while you focus on building your business and gaining a deeper understanding of your customer base without sacrificing additional resources.
But what if you’re a smaller builder and deploying and responding to customer satisfaction surveys doesn’t take too much effort? Consider scalability. Assuming your desire is to grow, can you give the same level of manual support to customer experience management you do now when business picks up?
Protected privacy and data of your customers
Another overlooked area in CX survey administration is ensuring you meet and uphold standard privacy and security protocols for your customers’ data and personal information. A third-party provider has the experience and resources available to deal properly with sensitive information, giving you and your survey participants peace of mind.
Insights, education, and solutions
Some third-party CX software companies go beyond setting your account up and offering technical support by providing a dedicated customer service team that dives deeper with you. They offer individual account support to help you understand your data reports and uncover critical areas that need your attention, so you’re allocating your resources where they’re needed most. That means months, years, or even a lifetime of commitment to personally helping you build a better customer experience that delivers consistently high ratings and reviews.
Discover the benefits yourself
Third-party customer experience management is a wise investment with great financial returns when done well. The homebuilding industry’s only complete solution for measuring, comprehending, and improving customer experience, AvidCX powered by Avid Ratings, provides a 360º view of your entire brand experience so you can make smart, data-oriented business decisions – with a client success manager at your side the whole journey. Explore the endless insights you can uncover with AvidCX here.
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