Five Top Customer Care Tips for New Homebuilders
With 86% of buyers willing to pay more for a better customer experience, it has never been more important for homebuilders to deliver excellent customer care.
As the proud providers of market-leading customer service, we thought we’d put together our Five Top Tips for ensuring your homebuyers feel they’ve had a positive customer experience.
The Importance of Customer Care for Homebuilders
Buying a new home is the largest investment most people will make in their lifetime. For that reason, homebuyers can often find the experience stressful, overwhelming and problematic.
But a happy homebuyer is a loyal one. Last year’s National New Homes Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSS) found that 91% of new build buyers would ‘recommend their builder to a friend’. A satisfied customer is also likely to buy with you again, with 87% of the same survey’s participants saying they would buy a new home from the same builders in future.
Investing in your customer care throughout the build process, through completion and after those shiny new keys have been handed out, is essential for a positive customer experience.
Our Five Top Tips for Customer Care
So how can homebuilders ensure they are providing the services that customers want and need? Here are our Top Five Tips for keeping your customers happy and loyal:
1. Mapping the Customer’s Journey
Buying a new home can be a daunting experience. It is the job of your customer care team to help alleviate buyers of any undue stress, by carefully mapping out the customer journey from the outset. Honest and detailed information about processes and timescales are an important opening to the buyer/builder relationship.
Once the stages of the building and buying process have been identified, it is a good idea to provide resources for your buyers, allowing for further reading at their own leisure.
Ensuring your buyers are aware of the ongoing elements of the house build at this early stage of the process, enables your customer care team to manage expectations and, often, prevent complaints about timings and schedules. An informed buyer is more understanding in the case of any delays or problems along the way. This approach also leads to a relationship of trust between the buyer and homebuilder, which is beneficial to future communications.
2. Clear Communication and Advice
By clearly mapping out your customer’s journey, your customer care team will already have embarked upon a buyer/builder relationship based on open communication. This initial outlaying of procedures is a chance for your customer care team to get to know the buyers, what they want and need from their home, and maybe prompt any questions they haven’t yet thought of.
There may be instances where buyers are looking for advice on certain aspects of either specifications of the home, or of the buying process itself. Ensure that your customer care team are educated on matters arising in these areas, so that they can communicate clearly and thoughtfully on what the client might need or choose.
An accessible form of FAQs can be a precious tool for your customer care team at this stage. Many buyers have similar queries, which are normally well-known to your customer care team. It is advisable to collate common questions in order to create a standardised set of answers. This is not only a valuable guide for the buyer, but also a time-saving tool for your customer care team, who can use their question-answering time in more productive ways. This also has the benefit of ensuring a consistent response to buyers, reducing misinformation and consequently disappointment for buyers further down the line.
3. Create Memorable Experiences
We’ve already addressed how difficult the homebuying process can be. However, buying a new home is also one of life’s most exciting and rewarding experiences. Your customer care team have the chance to be a part of this significant milestone with your buyers, and that should be recognised from the initial contact with a potential buyer, right the way through to completion and onwards.
Taking potential buyers around the development’s show home is a great way to start the journey with your customer but this is by no means the end of the initial meeting. Ensure your customer care team have the right marketing materials to showcase the best features of your new homes and the development at large. These should be available for the potential buyer to take away with them, either physically or digitally.
Once committed to buying one of your properties, the customer care your buyer receives should be no less attentive. While the buyer’s new home is being completed, developers can help encourage feelings of anticipation and excitement by providing regular updates on the progress of the build; notifications of when finishes have been completed and offering site visits so that the buyer can see their new home in the making.
Providing updates on progress not only creates a great sense of anticipation and satisfaction for your buyers; it also allows them to see the work taking place at its real-life time scale, enabling them to appreciate just how many aspects there are to building a new home.
When the time comes to hand over that new set of keys, make sure to add as many nice touches as you can. Classic Folios provides award-winning handover packages, including plot specific home user guides, presented in either bespoke folios or on our award-winning portal, Spaciable. These contain all the information your buyer needs to move into, and start using, their new home, as well as a guide of the facilities available at its location. These can be accompanied by a range of beautiful gifts and branded items for the home.
Making as much of this handover moment as you can will pay dividends in how your buyer remembers the experience, whether they recommend your homes to potential buyers and their likelihood of buying with you again in the future.
4. Listen to Problems and Respond Promptly
Your customer care team might not always be able to solve a problem for a buyer immediately, possibly not even within the week. However, it should remain a priority to respond to issues promptly.
This quick response lets the buyer know that your customer care team is aware of the problem, is looking into a solution and will keep them updated of any progress until a resolution has been found. Remember that you have built the relationship with your buyers from a place of honesty and openness, as this will help with your customers’ understanding and patience when problems arise.
Sometimes the information to be fed back to a buyer will disappoint them. If the response to a customer’s problem is going to be difficult to deliver, do not delay in talking it through with them. Stalling at these times can only add to the frustration a buyer is feeling and essentially prevents a quick resolution to the issue at hand.
5. Handover Solutions and After Sales Care
After sales care is important for no business more than the homebuilder.
Providing your customer care team with practical handover solutions is the best way to ensure your buyers obtain all the information they need for moving in. Our comprehensive manuals are a beautiful addition to handover day and a strong reinforcement of your brand’s dedication to excellence. A handover package also demonstrates to your buyers that you are putting in that little bit more, to ensure the transition to their new home is as stress and problem free as possible.
We have already highlighted the importance of creating a memorable moment on handover day but the chance for your customer care team to make an impact has not ended there.
Many developers will host evening events for new residents, allowing neighbours to get to know each other and make new friends with the people they now live amongst. There should be information about the local area to hand, including the activities and events that take place in the surrounding locations. These can be used as a talking point for your guests, as much as for informative purposes. Realising the value in a buyer’s feelings of inclusion in a new residential setting is something to be considered and implemented wherever possible. Again, you are aiming for a memorable experience, one that will be shared by many residents and subsequently heard about by all their friends and family.
When it comes to customer care, homebuilders can find themselves under mounting pressure to perform well, with competition at an all-time high. The job of your customer care team is to make the homebuying process feel enjoyable and exciting from start to finish.
Homebuyers want to know that the people building their homes care. Care about the homes they’re building and care about the people buying them. Follow our 5 Top Tips to prove to your buyers you are worthy of their trust and a homebuilder to stay loyal to in the future.