|Dean Horowitz, Publisher|
The Consumer Confidence Index does not establish your customers’ need for a new home but it does put more pressure on how their money will be spent. Being the builder of a “must-have” product rather than “a choice” is absolutely essential as the willingness to make a major financial investment is now a more difficult commitment for today’s consumer.
The lesson for all of us to learn this year is not so much about new economy ideas as how to build customer satisfaction into the very DNA of the products we offer. The better we execute customer-driven products the more likely our customers’ satisfaction will be over the top. The more over the top, the more firmly we establish “must have” selection.
Professional Builder is obsessed with these thoughts as we orchestrate the upcoming Benchmark seminar in Chicago, running September 30th through October 3rd.
The 2001 event must be a “must-attend” program. This requires re-inventing a highly regarded and successful program, removing it from its usual patterns, structure and expectations and making it decidedly extraordinary.
The five-step process we are using is applicable to home building or any product development.
Understand. The more deeply we understand why a buyer desires a new home and how individuals define the “new home” experience, the easier it becomes to deliver that product. Start by understanding how your customers will live within and outside of their home.
This requires a “beginner’s mind,” one that is open and intrigued by the what-ifs that occur as builder and buyer begin the process.
Observe. Watch as homeowners interact with their environment—prepare for a dinner party, watch a football game, play with their kids, care for a family member that needs some assistance and communicate with the office. Understanding this dance is really your responsibility in this customer satisfaction journey.
Visualize. Envision the customer’s experience in the home—turning into the driveway, opening the door, dropping the keys onto the counter, and hanging up the coat. First-time, move-up, downsize and urban home buyers are each going to have a different experience. This visualization will dictate the design and materials required.
Question. If your team has spent the time understanding then they can do a great job of initially testing the product experience. Perhaps they actually purchase and live in one of the homes. Just being themselves, experiencing the environment and questioning everything will assist in finding some of the fatal flaws.
Ask many questions of your target market especially if they do not resemble your own team.
Execute. Finalize and execute the plan that delivers the best match of dreams and value.
This is especially difficult in home building. No one questions that. But the opportunity to rethink and re-engineer all that we believe to be true is also the opportunity to deliver something extraordinary during a time when it matters more than ever.
Professional Builder’s team is only on phase four of this creation process. Frankly, it has been incredibly time consuming and has required an ego-suppression. It is difficult to listen to criticism and not provide the “why” answers that justify past decisions. But you have to. You have got to hear it all as you attempt to conquer this path.
We look forward to seeing you at this year’s Benchmark. We look forward to providing Extreme Customer Satisfaction.