THE GAME HAS CHANGED
The game has changed and developers are on the back foot if they don’t have a robust customer service in place. Today’s average consumer wants a “one stop shop” approach to customer service and that means dealing with anything they may wish to report. Increasingly this presents a major challenge to any developer, requiring them to carefully consider policies and procedures, fronted by a smart, friendly yet highly capable resource.
There are many varied reasons why this is so, but for the most part this can be summarised as a combination of the relative complexity of the modern dwelling and the significant increase in consumer expectations.
How a developer handles a customer when they have something to report contributes heavily toward the perception a homeowner has of the company they have bought their new home from. Handled badly and you can expect unhappy consequences – the shift over recent years for people to complain far more readily has arisen largely due to the availability and immediacy of digital communication. It is far too easy to send out an email complaining about something and copy the world in. So, whatever the issue, do not allow it to go unmanaged or become the customer’s problem to chase because it will cost you dearly in the end.
New build purchasers expect their property will be in perfect condition at the date of purchase. Such consumers typically purchase a new build because it fits their needs. Customer care has never been regarded as a business critical function of house building – until recently. The game has changed and developers are on the back foot if they don’t have a robust and professional customer service team in place. Traditionally an array of ‘conveniently available’ staff may have collectively handled inbound problems and complaints – the receptionist, an office administrator, a passing departmental head. And there was a time when this may have been adequate. But today, an administrator taking calls is not customer care. A site manager sending the foreman to see an unhappy homeowner is not customer care. And repairing a leaking shower three months after it was first reported is not customer care.
Developers should not fool themselves into believing that customer care is an expense they cannot justify – if you think customer care is expensive, wait till you see the real cost of not having any! Websites, blogs and social media have been providing the consumer with a readily available and potent platform to reach the highest of senior management in any company worldwide (let alone yours) to make their sentiments known. Any developer who values their brand and reputation must take steps to protect it.
Caring for the customer is a state of mind, an attitude and a willingness and desire to get things done when a customer is in need. Caring for your customer is about caring for the bottom line – ignore the former and you do so at great cost to the latter.
After Build’s customer care package is based on significant industry knowledge and experience working with the new build sector and house buying community. It is an all-embracing solution designed to scale up as output grows. It recognises the widest range of consumer expectations and deals with them irrespective of legitimacy.
Our team of experienced dedicated coordinators manage all inbound communications. They all have significant examination based ‘defect management’ training and are equipped to handle a wide range of issues.
A technically competent resource to troubleshoot site issues at points of high pressure is made available through After Build. This is an invaluable addition to the team taking a pragmatic but independent view of technical problems to achieve resolution more quickly. A dedicated Account Manager handles all points of contact with the developer, contractors and homeowner.
Avoiding complaints is high priority, but when they occur, managing them well is even higher; complaints require a range of skills and experience mostly not possessed by the construction industry. The increasingly litigious consumer has advanced rapidly in their ability to complain effectively, knowing how to leverage the moment by utilising all means freely at their disposal. After Build operate a robust procedure which is applied to all formal complaints and to approved industry guidelines.