It goes without saying, the more money you spend on a product the more you expect as a whole from the company that you are purchasing from. Whether it is a designer handbag, a new sports car or your first home, you expect what you pay for and even more from the seller. As a developer, you will be providing people with probably their most expensive investment to date and it is then your job to ensure that you provide the service that they expect.
You may be thinking that this isn’t in your job description, but if you want to ensure that your company has a trustworthy name and you can continue to sell your properties, then you really should take some time to evaluate your customer service department. It is important to think about what it should be like, considering the cost of the product that you sell.
Ultimately, your customer service department is much more important than you may have initially realised. This is an area that is often overlooked and because of this, the reputation of your company can be damaged. You need to ensure that your customer service department can handle all aspects of after care from snags and defects to whole estate management. The daily demands of managing residential properties can be significant, so your team need to be organised, experienced and able to provide what your purchasers expect.
One thing that purchasers always expect is quick responses, even if you can’t provide the answers they are looking for straight away, just acknowledging them as soon as possible is incredibly important. You should also provide them with multiple ways to contact you, letters and emails aren’t enough anymore and your customer service department needs to reflect this.
Not only does your department need to be able to respond within a reasonable timeframe, they also need to be patient, attentive and able to handle any situation. A customer service department can’t just be made up of anyone. The team requires a specific set of skills to ensure that the service provided is as required and expected by your purchasers.
This team also needs to be incredibly knowledgeable in the area of new build properties. They should have a good understanding of everything from builders liability to the defect management process. Ideally, the person who is speaking to your purchasers will be able to understand what they mean and provide some clarity to prevent worry and anger. It is a much harder job than people may initially realise and shouldn’t be overlooked.
Of course, the amount your purchasers rely on your customer service department will differ from person to person. You may find that some purchasers are what you may describe as ‘needy’ and that you don’t hear from other purchasers at all, which is just the way it goes. You can never predict who will need your team or how much they will need them, but you need to be prepared for everyone to need your team at all times to ensure that you can handle anything that is thrown at you.
For some small development companies, the requirements of a customer service department might be too much. If you don’t have enough members of staff, or the skills required to run this department to the high standard required, then you might want to consider outsourcing your customer service department. You can completely hand over this section of your company to a more experienced team who are specifically trained to handle all aspects of after care for new homes.
It is now very common for developers to work alongside companies like After Build who have specific experience in customer service for new build properties. Lots of developers now outsource their customer service to ensure that whoever is responsible for handling their purchaser’s queries has the correct knowledge to deal with the situation correctly. Outsourcing could be the best solution for your company and it is definitely worth looking into.
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During this difficult time After Build’s service continues as normal. Given our technology platform, the team is able to operate remotely without impacting on service levels – this includes Out of Hours Emergency cover.
In the event that a developer’s contractor is unable to attend a property (either because they are instructed not to, or because a homeowner does not wish it) the Property Coordinator will take full details of the issue, recording it on our system in readiness for making an appointment just as soon as matters return to normal.
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