When home builders are asked which information they deem most critical to the improvement of their businesses, info about new products is always near the top of the list. And for good reason.
Weekley Fine-Tunes Customer Satisfaction Measures
When David Weekley Homes won the NHQ Award in 1993, the Houston-based firm set benchmarks for gathering data to measure the strength of customer relationships.
When David Weekley Homes won the NHQ Award in 1993, the Houston-based firm set benchmarks for gathering data to measure the strength of customer relationships. Weekley was one of the first to survey buyers at different stages of the home sale process, asking the critical "would recommend" question to measure customer satisfaction. Today, Weekley has become even more cutting edge in its measurement methods.
|Communication with buyers is key at David Weekley Homes.|
"When we won the award, we were doing surveys at completion of construction and three months and nine months after closing," says principal David Weekley. "We found we were getting basically the same information at three months and nine months. So today, we start at stage five of construction (drywall). That gives us an early warning if anything is amiss. Our second survey is at closing, the final one six months later."
The surveys are still done by Weekley employees, by telephone, which allows them to achieve a 100% response rate. But Weekley has also added J.D. Power into its customer satisfaction measurement equation. "We brought Power in to do an independent survey, to verify our results and our methodology," says Weekley.
Several years ago, Weekley refined its key "would recommend" survey question to allow customers to register degrees of satisfaction rather than choosing simply "yes" or "no."
"We went to a four-point system culminating in ‘absolutely would recommend,’" says Weekley. "But we’ve now learned from J.D. Power that a five-point system is better.There’s quite a bit of difference between the enthusiasm of buyers in the top segment of a five-point survey than in the top of a four-point scale."
At the time of the award, even with a company doing $337 million worth of building in four Texas markets, Weekley met personally with every buyer, in the home, after closing. Today, with his company operating in four states and 1998 revenue at $608 million, Weekley’s division presidents still meet with a random sample of customers in their homes. "We also send out a letter to every buyer that gives names, phone numbers and e-mail addresses of all management personnel in a division," says Weekley. "We all still have listed home phone numbers. And we have the sales consultant and the builder -- together -- proactively call customers once a week throughout construction of their home."