Setting a New Customer Standard

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Winners of the NRS Award show how your company can create customer delight.

November 01, 2004

 

Additional Information
2005 Customer Satisfaction Leaders
Total Recommend Levels By Category
Do Consumers Care?
NRS Diamond Award Winners in Homeowner Satisfaction
Cedar Knoll
Barone Homes
Also Read
Cedar Knoll: Anticipating Buyer Behaviors

Creating a first class customer experience dominates discussion in every industry. No longer can leaders be content just satisfying customers; the bar has been raised and for builders this means managing the customer relationship rather than just focusing on customer services.

In year two of the NRS customer satisfaction competition, some of the winners will be familiar, yet even for these two-time top scorers, improvement is a way of life. Here the data and the Diamond award winner tell a story on what matters most to customers and how every builder can create a world-class experience for their home buyers.

Production Builders

Overall quality of workmanship is the dominant factor in customer satisfaction. In fact, the five main items that suggest a new homeowner will recommend his/her production builder to family or friends are:

 

  • Overall quality of workmanship;
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  • Home was built to expectations at the walkthrough;
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  • Overall quality of materials;
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  • Warranty service provided the highest quality of repairs and services; and
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  • Project superintendent responsive to concerns.

    Quality and service are key to customer satisfaction; two of the five items correlate to service, with warranty service ranking high. Additionally, 76 percent of homeowners said they would recommend their builder and 85 percent actually did make at least one positive recommendation. More than 10 percent (11.7) made 10 or more referrals.

    Following is a look at the key factors influencing customer satisfaction among the four production builder classifications.

    500+ closings: Like the overall customer satisfaction factors, production builders with 500 or more closings last year had high customer satisfaction ratings with:

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  • Overall quality of workmanship;
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  • Home built to expectations at the walk-through;
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  • Overall quality of materials;
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  • Warranty service provided the highest quality repairs and services; and
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  • Warranty service began work in a timely manner.

    The top production builders in this category are seeing increasing effect on customer satisfaction from warranty service. Like the overall counts, 73 percent of homeowners said they would recommend their builder and 88 percent made at least one positive recommendation. Thirteen percent made 10 or more referrals.

    100-499 closings: The production builders with 100-499 closings are the largest group in the study, therefore they mimic the overall items used to correlate between customer satisfaction and recommend levels:

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  • Overall quality of workmanship;
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  • Home built to expectations;
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  • Overall quality of materials;
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  • Warranty service quality repairs and services; and
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  • Project superintendent was responsive to concerns.

    Continuing the trend of the overall production builders, this category ranked 77 percent of homeowners who said they would recommend their builder and 82 percent who made at least one positive recommendation. Ten percent made 10 or more positive referrals.

    50-99 closings: Overall quality of workmanship continues to be the main reason a homeowner will recommend a production builder to friends and family. Other items for this category include:

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  • Sales staff made buying process pleasant;
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  • Sales staff kept homeowner informed of progress;
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  • Overall quality of materials; and
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  • Sales staff was knowledgeable of building process.

    Sales come in very strong with these companies because the salesperson tends to be the lead contact with customers throughout the buying process in smaller organizations. The sales staff maintain the customer relations and are key in setting expectations, which is an NRS strategy for improving customer satisfaction scores.

    Among this group, 82 percent of homeowners said they would recommend their builder and 81 percent made at least one positive recommendation. Sixteen percent made 10 or more referrals.

    Small volume builders

    In smaller organizations, builders have a lot of direct contact with the customer and a much stronger influence on the relationship. Because of this, the five main factors in homeowner satisfaction rely heavily on the project superintendent:

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  • Project superintendent provided quality workmanship;
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  • Home was built to expectations at walk-through;
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  • Warranty service provided immediate contact to schedule;
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  • Project superintendent explained construction process; and
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  • Project superintendent was responsive to concerns.

    The small volume category ranked the highest in recommend rates ù 87 percent of homeowners said they would recommend their builder and 80 percent made at least one positive recommendation. Fourteen percent made 10 or more referrals.

    How the Competition Sets Itself Apart

    Cedar Knoll has a 100 percent homeowner recommend rating and 92 percent had already recommended to their friends and/or family. Customers are very happy with their warranty service and the top five items used to correlate between customer satisfaction and recommend levels are:

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  • Size and shape of home site/lot;
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  • Lighting fixtures;
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  • Overall quality of workmanship;
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  • Options selection location was convenient; and
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  • Convenient hours to schedule options selections appointment.

    Pulte Homes Phoenix has a 96 percent homeowner recommend level. In fact, the organization has high homeowner satisfaction levels in warranty service, service satisfaction, and exterior home features. The top five items used to correlate between customer satisfaction and recommend levels for Pulte Homes Phoenix are:

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  • Finished work in a timely manner;
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  • Quality repairs and services;
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  • Began work in a timely manner;
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  • Knowledgeable about repairs; and
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  • Overall kitchen.

    Trustway Homes' homeowners û all of them û say they will recommend their builder to friends and/or family and 88 percent already have. They rank high in service satisfaction, exterior home features, and warranty service. The top five items used to correlate their customer satisfaction and recommend levels are:

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  • Warranty service adequately cleaned after work;
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  • Project superintendent overall quality of workmanship;
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  • Overall kitchen;
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  • Builder's representative was pleasant at the walk-through; and
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  • Lighting fixtures.

    Shamrock Builders has homeowners who will recommend them to friends and family ù 100 percent of them! The number one distinction for the company was warranty service. The top five items used to correlate between customer satisfaction and recommend levels for Shamrock are:

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  • Option selection process was convenient;
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  • Reasonable price for upgrades;
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  • Option selection location was convenient;
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  • Convenient hours to schedule option selection; and
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  • Grading/drainage of lot.

     

    Pulte Homes Tucson has very happy customers; 94 percent of them say they will recommend their builder and 71 percent already have. They rank high in exterior home features and project superintendents. The top five items used to correlate their customer satisfaction and recommend levels are:

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  • Overall quality of workmanship;
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  • Home was built to expectations;
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  • Quality repairs and services;
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  • Interior trim carpentry; and
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  • Project superintendent was responsive to concerns.

    Greth Homes is product and warranty service-oriented and it shows! Ninety-seven percent of homeowners say they will recommend Greth Homes to friends and/or family and 79 percent already have. The top five items used to correlate between customer satisfaction and recommend levels for Greth Homes are:

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  • Warranty service finished in a timely manner;
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  • Warranty service provided quality repairs and services;
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  • Project superintendent provided quality workmanship;
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  • Warranty professional in appearance; and
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  • Began work in a timely manner.

    Brighton Corporation has a 92 percent homeowner recommend level. The organization ranks high in homeowner satisfaction in warranty service, interior home features, and production. The top five items used to correlate between customer satisfaction and recommend levels for Brighton are:

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  • Project superintendent was responsive to concerns;
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  • Size and shape of home site/lot;
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  • Builder's representative was pleasant through the walk-through;
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  • Project superintendent was knowledgeable and courteous; and
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  • Overall location of home.

    Estes Builders ranks high in warranty service; 100 percent of its homeowners say they will recommend to their friends and/or family and 83 percent already have. The top five items used to correlate its customer satisfaction and recommend levels are:

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  • Landscaping/plantings;
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  • Bathroom faucets;
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  • Exterior trim;
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  • Siding; and
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  • Grading/drainage.

    Methodology

    To determine the awards, NRS surveyed 63,651 homeowners who had closed on a new home in 2003 about their satisfaction with their home builder and the home building process. They were surveyed about their satisfaction in key areas:

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  • Home features
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  • Floorplan/layout
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  • Quality of materials
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  • Quality of workmanship
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  • Price/value
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  • Lot and location
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  • Sales process
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  • Lending process
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  • Options/upgrades/colors
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  • Office staff
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  • Project superintendent
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  • Walk-through
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  • Post-move-in warranty service
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  • Number of items identified for correction
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  • Time taken to make corrections
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  • Overall recommend intentions
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  • Actual recommend behavior

    Production and custom builders were compared separately because of the unique challenges each type of builder faces and because each generally serves different market segments. Production builders typically deal with higher volumes, while custom builders typically deal with greater demands from home buyers, larger square footage, and higher home prices.

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