Online Customer Service Vital for New Home Sales
Every year, associations such as the National Home Builders’ Association (NHBA) and the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) recognize builders who excel in the area of great customer service. Industry insiders are not the only ones to acknowledge these types of achievements and awards, but more importantly consumers as well. For the consumer, buying a home is not just about quality craftsmanship and materials; it involves the entire customer experience, from pre-transaction to post-transaction.
When it comes to online new home marketing and lead generation, customer service is often overlooked as a viable channel for lead generation and marketing. In our line of work, the customer service channel is THE KEY source for deep customer and prospect engagement and, in our opinion, is vital for successful lead generation and overall home sales. Here’s why…
Costumers judge your brand by how you respond to their needs.
Customers judge your performance as a brand with every interaction, through all channels, including every click they make on your website. When it comes to your website’s online experience, how do you measure up to your competition in the eyes of your customer? Consider these facts from LeadQual – a leader in lead qualification and response via phone.
According to LeadQual (stats taken from LeadQual website):
- The average Internet consumer visits 5 websites and competes 3 different contact forms,
- 50% of Internet leads are never followed up on, and;
- 90% of consumers are very satisfied when they are personally contacted on the same day they complete an Internet form.
When it comes to your online experience, it doesn’t just end with your website. When a lead submits their information through your website, how well you respond and follow up with leads is vital for online lead conversion to sale. This is where most builders fail to provide customer service and transition web leads to in-person visits with sales staff. Many builders simply do not have a company-wide procedure to follow up on web leads. This is more dangerous than you would think as it sends a powerful message that you simply don’t care enough about your customers, or perhaps you’re too busy to really care about their needs. Whatever the reason, a negative experience is a leak in the revenue ship that needs to be plugged.
Better Analytics for More Effective Marketing
Website analytics can tell you a lot about your online customer interactions and how they behave on your website. This is highly valuable data if you are continuously looking to optimize your online customer experience on your home builder website. At ReadyChat, we are results driven and analytics play a big role in what we do. But while analytics programs can help you understand your customers’ activity, it fails to provide insights into their way of thinking and individual needs. At any given moment, the customers using your website will be experiencing a range of different qualities of service, and consequently will be going through a range of states of satisfaction.
Open forms of communications such as live chat, social media, and email can provide deep insights into individual customer needs… something analytics software can’t do. Customer service should always be two-way and as such, allows you to identify a users frustration or individual needs, and most importantly allow your staff to engage in meaningful conversations related to the individual needs of a customer.
Identify High-Value vs. Low-Value Customers
In order to act on individual customers’ experiences, though, you need to consider what the appropriate action is for that unique customer. Not all customers are equal, and high value customers will warrant different treatment from low value clients. For example, a high value homebuyer that submits a sales query by email should be contacted by phone, within the hour, while your brand is still top of mind. But a low value client who has register to receive your newsletter will not warrant this level of service (and consequent expense) and will probably be contacted by email.
With 90% of homebuyers beginning their home search on the Internet, online customer service has never become more important for home builders. There are many factors that influence a positive customer service experience that are constantly overlooked by builders. One key take-away from this article should be the importance of how your customers view your brand and customer service both online and offline should be incorporated as part of the sales process.