Customer Service: The Great Differentiator

Everyone in a home-building company, from the CEO on down, plays a part in delivering great customer service.

By By Chip Pennington, Shea Homes | February 28, 2010


What’s the most important role in your organization? President/CEO, the one who makes the tough decisions? Maybe. In this economy, perhaps it’s accounting. Or land acquisition, or construction. It has to be sales, right? I may be a bit biased, but I believe the most important role is customer service.

Customer service is the easiest way for home builders to differentiate their company from the competition. Everything we produce can be replicated by our competition. There’s no secret ingredient. Heck, there are hardly any secrets. Our production plant, the jobsite, is wide open for review by the competition. Floor plans are open for replication. Our architects work for our competitors, as do our trades. We buy concrete and lumber from the same plants and mills. Our communities are across the street from other communities. And many of our employees came from or went to other builders.

How can we be different? We are different in how we treat our customers. We are a service organization that produces communities. Particularly in our industry, customer service is the great differentiator. You can’t purchase or subcontract the service culture.

Also, note that I didn’t ask for the most important department. Customer service is a role that every department should share. Customer service is the most important role in your organization, and everyone in your organization should wear that hat, from the president/CEO to accounting to land acquisition to construction and sales. Maybe even the warranty department. Of course, I may be a little biased.

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