In the first of a five-part series, on Customer Experience in the Home Building Industry, we’ll explore the basics of customer experience, why it matters, and what’s involved in building an effective customer experience program. Part one is intended to serve as an overview on the topic, while articles two through five will take a deeper dive into the recommended components and metrics for crafting a better buying experience, and using a dedicated customer experience program to increase company performance.
What is customer experience and why should I care?
Customer Experience, or CX, is a term often heard these days. But what does it mean as it relates to the home building industry? It’s more than just survey scores or adding online chat to your website. It’s a holistic and systematic approach to the way you do business. Sure, sales and marketing matter, but so does options selection, construction, trade partner communication, and warranty. In short, think of CX as “how easy and enjoyable it is to conduct business with our company.”
From Apple to Zappos, companies are looking to disrupt traditional industries with new ways of thinking about the customer. And they’re succeeding. According to a 2017 Temkin Group study, 73 percent of companies with above-average CX maturity have better financial performance than their competitors. That’s a substantial enough measure to make any CEO take notice.
In addition, the study revealed 55 percent of large companies have goals to be an industry leader within three years. That means if we continue to ignore or de-prioritize CX, particularly in a ripe-for-disruption industry like home building, we’re likely to be on the bullet train to the Laggards List in the years to come.
Are the benefits of CX worth the investment?
The short answer is, “absolutely.” However, measurement can get a little tricky. There are real gains to be had in both the short-run and the long-run. You just have to know where to look and which metrics to measure.
Short-term CX projects (the low-hanging fruit), can still lead to strong improvements in metrics like customer satisfaction scores and Employee Engagement. (Employees inherently want to work for a company that provides a great CX and has a strong moral focus.) In the long-run, CX improvements contribute to lower acquisition costs, substantial price premiums, and improved market share, to name a few. Some companies have even correlated improvements in CX to better credit ratings (customer satisfaction score is one of the factors Standard and Poor’s considers in some credit ratings).
Where do we start?
When beginning a CX initiative, remember, “don’t try to boil the ocean.” Once you’ve obtained executive buy-in, start with small wins, such as reducing response times. Use your measured gains in these areas to fund your mid and long-term CX strategy. This strategy should leverage techniques like customer journey mapping, unified customer profiles, and a robust Voice of the Customer (VoC) program to prioritize future CX investments and create a systematic company-wide approach.
In parts two through five of this five-part series, we’ll explore specific metrics for quantifying CX gains, detailed steps for creating your own CX strategy, as well as some of the tools we use at Bokka Group to help craft a better buying experience.
Other articles in the series Customer Experience in the Home Building Industry:
- Part 1: Improving Home Builder Performance With a Dedicated Customer Experience Initiative (this post)
- Part 2: Components of a Winning Customer Experience Strategy
- Part 3: Understanding and Selecting the Right CX Metrics
- Part 4: Using the CX Canvas as a One-Page Visual Charter (coming soon)
- Part 5: Leverage CX as a catalyst for cultural change (coming soon)