Builders: Tips for making happy homeowners into return customers.

The hardest part about selling a home isn’t always attracting customers; it is keeping your homeowners happy beyond the sale. According to a study released by the U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, businesses lose their customers for these reasons:

–          68% leave because they are upset with the treatment they received

–          14% are dissatisfied with the product or service they purchased

–          9% begin doing business with the competition

While some customers may seem difficult to satisfy, with a well-developed communication plan there are steps you can take to initiate a high level of customer service and earn repeat business.

Be a clear winner among the competition. 

  1. Initial Contact
    1. Your website. Your website is a valuable tool to help educate potential and current buyers. Can someone easily find answers to questions they may have about your company and products offered? Today, most buyers are doing online research before spending money, and when an educated buyer walks into your sales center, they are more likely closer to a purchase decision than those who haven’t had their questions answered.
    2. Brag about your expertise. Leveraging your website, social media efforts (Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn) and email marketing channels are great ways to reach potential buyers with content that can help to establish you as a subject matter expert. The right content can also act as a resource for their buying decision.
    3. Sales team. A home is likely the largest investment your buyers will ever make— which is why it’s important your sales staff is properly trained. Leading with features and benefits can hinder the ability to develop a working relationship with a buyer. Instead of telling them what you offer, ask what they’re looking for. Understand their needs first, and then explain how your product or service can help fill those needs.
    4. Construction
      1. Take the lead. Your buyer has signed on the dotted line—but it’s not over yet. At this stage, it’s important that you take the  lead in keeping your home buyer in the loop. Utilize your available communication tools (email, in person meetings, snail mail or phone) to keep your customer informed throughout the construction process. Your buyer will have more realistic expectations the more engaged and informed they are which could help solve any future disputes.
      2. After and Beyond the Closing
        1. Checking in. Contact with your buyer shouldn’t stop after the home closes. Take the initiative to check in with your buyer at least 30, 60 and 120 days after closing. You can better support any workmanship issues they may make note, and this is an opportunity to ask for referrals. Also, before their first year of homeownership is up, reach out to the buyer at 9 months and again at 11 months to ensure any workmanship claims were completed to the satisfaction of the homeowner.

Today’s buyer will remain in their home an average of 5-7 years. By providing an exceptional customer service experience from the initial contact, you will create buyers that will provide you with repeat business and referrals.