Components of a Winning Customer Experience Strategy for Home Builders

by Dallas Johnson

Customer experience strategyIn Part 1 of this series on Customer Experience in the Home Building Industry, we made a case for improving the customer experience in the home building industry. In this article, Part 2, we identify the core components of a successful Customer Experience Strategy:

  • Key influencers
  • Journey maps
  • Unified customer profiles
  • Voice of the Customer
  • Customer experience culture
  • Voice of the Trades

Identify Key Influencers for Your Customer Experience Strategy

A Customer Experience Strategy is only as good as the team leading it. Selecting a core group to champion the Customer Experience initiative is paramount to getting buy-in from different departments. You can start with a single person at the executive level (e.g. a Chief Customer Officer), or better still, you can assemble a Customer Experience Committee made up of influencers within sales, marketing, design, finance, and construction/warranty. In either case, you need to gain the full support of everyone in the organization. Without it, your customer experience initiatives may meet serious resistance, or lose momentum before they ever get started. Another benefit of the committee approach is the collaboration and ideation that takes place. Having multiple disciplines involved means varied perspectives, which leads to more (and better) ideas for improvement.

Journey Map the Home Buying and Building Process

Another core component to your Customer Experience Strategy is mapping the customer‘s journey of buying and building a home with you. This exercise helps identify the Moments of Truth for the home buyer, and creates alignment around the experience you’re delivering — allowing you to prioritize the most important improvements. At the Bokka Group, our extensive experience journey mapping has allowed us to identify some common problems for most home builders and strategies to make the experience better. We call these “quick wins” and use them to establish momentum and demonstrate the impact CX can have on the builder’s bottom line.

Craft Unified Customer Profiles

Providing an unforgettable home buying experience means treating each buyer as if they’re your only buyer. Obviously, this can be difficult to do at scale. To make this possible, it’s important to build unified customer profiles, or UCPs. At its core, a UCP is simply a central place to house customer data. This could be as simple as a shared spreadsheet and as complex as an enterprise-level Data Management Platform.

What matters is understanding the information needed to provide the best possible experience. Could your sales team be more effective if they knew the lead’s buying power, equity position, and income? Perhaps their hobbies and interests provide insight into the life-changing event that made them decide to build a home in the first place.

Enlist the sales, marketing, construction, and warranty teams to identify the data that will be most helpful for each role. Then make a plan for collecting, storing, and accessing that data to allow each role to use that data to make a meaningful connection with the customer. These personal connections will be what the customers remember, and writes about in their reviews.

Implement a Voice of the Customer Program

You can’t create a better customer experience without truly understanding what the buyer believes is a great experience. As a builder, you may think it means offering the latest virtual reality tours and expensive touch screens at the sales center. But what your buyers really want is transparent communication throughout the building process. Don’t waste time and money building programs around your assumptions.

A Voice of the Customer program allows you to collect buyer feedback and sentiment during the entire customer journey. Most builders only collect feedback at a few points in the journey, instead of proactively gathering feedback all along the way. A Voice of the Customer Program ensures you’re taking action on feedback and staying in tune with your buyers’ wants and needs.

Improve Employee Engagement through a Culture of CX Inclusion

To create the greatest impact, a customer-first mentality must be part of your company culture. This cultural shift will not only impact the buying experience, it will directly affect the bottom line through reduced employee churn. Engage and empower your employees to identify and remove operational barriers to providing the best possible experience. Incentivize employees for gains in critical CX metrics, not just operational and financial outcomes. This increases employee ownership of CX initiatives and, according to a Temkin Group study, leads to improved employee satisfaction in the workplace: a win-win.

Commit to your Trades with a Voice of the Trade Program

An often-overlooked component of the customer experience is your trade partner relationship. Your trade partners are instrumental in providing a great building experience. Work with your partners to define CX expectations and incentivize strong CX metrics.

Understanding the hurdles to a customer-centric job site and providing feedback-based solutions will strengthen your trade relationships and make you a better partner. People are drawn to companies known for delivering amazing customer experiences, and trades are no exception.

In Summary

In this article, we’ve highlighted the most important parts of the CX we explore at the Bokka Group. We work with top home builders to examine each of these core components during every phase of the building process. We then identify the CX metrics we’ll use to define success, and start mapping CX initiatives to opportunities for improvement.

In Part 3 of this series, we’ll discuss how we select and measure the right CX metrics for each phase of the building process. In future parts, we’ll reveal the Home Building CX Canvas — our tool for turning a Customer Experience Strategy into a one-page visual charter. We will also explore each of these key areas in more detail.

Other articles in the series Customer Experience in the Home Building Industry: