Customer Satisfaction: IQ Versus EQ in Home Building

April 18, 2012

Home building is an extremely complicated business and as such requires very intelligent people and systems.  Think about it for a second.  To build a home, over 400,000 pieces/parts and 2,000 people must be precisely coordinated to bring these pieces, parts, and labor all together at the right time in the right sequence – and often at a remote address that may not have even existed 2 months earlier, WOW!  It takes very dedicated, intelligent people and solid, well planned, processes to pull that off!

While the home building industry is blessed with people of above average intelligence quotients (IQ) the industry is generally much lower in the equally important emotional quotient (EQ).  EQ is the key to the experiential side of the home building process and is instrumental in making the customer feel like their home was built with empathy, compassion, care and concern, personally for them.

In a study conducted a few years ago, we found that most customer dissatisfaction was actually the result of EQ issues much more so than IQ issues; in fact six to one!  More often than not, customer satisfaction was determined by “how” their builder treated and cared for them, than it was the home construction quality itself.  This is why a “Voice of the Customer” program and its’ survey should solicit and collect both the customer’s rational and emotional experiences.   Many home builders are aware of their IQ issues (i.e. punch list, product quality, etc.), but few home builders are cognizant of their EQ issues (i.e. communications, timeliness, etc.).

This entry's management meeting questions of the week: Where is our home building company failing our customers emotionally (EQ), and what can we do about it? 

Charlie Scott has more than 30 years of first-hand home building experience, much of it in senior management positions with an award-winning, nationally recognized Midwest builder. Currently, he's director of Woodland, O’Brien & Scott for Constellation Homebuilder Systems. Scott helps North American home builders grow their own customer-centric cultures, pursue operational excellence, and increase referral sales. Write him at