At The Green Company, 97.5 percent of customers would recommend it to others and 55 percent of the company's actual sales come from buyer referrals, thanks to a unique brand of customer care. This fact, in combination with the excellent customer experience surveys, puts this builder No. 1 in North America in customer satisfaction.
Customer service wasn't always a strength. In fact, the company's customer satisfaction ratings didn't really start to take off until 1998, when the Newton, Mass.-based builder began its journey of professionally measuring customer satisfaction and letting the results guide it on how it would better serve home buyers. Since that time, the company has garnered the National Housing Quality Silver Award and two other top placements in the NRS Award program. In 2006, customers gave the company the top rating, which makes The Green Company the best in the business.
Founded by company chairman Alan Green more than 50 years ago, The Green Company has grown from a small builder on Massachusetts's Cape Cod to a leading builder serving Boston's suburbs. The company has catered to empty nesters for more than 25 years and is on target to close about 100 homes this year in the high $300,000 to $700,000 range.
Today, 65 employees work together on every aspect of the home-building process, from design and marketing to construction, sales, customer care and community management.
"We need to be involved with all aspects of our communities to do a good job," says company President David Caligaris.Sense of Community
The company stays aware of its buyers, realizing not all empty nesters want to downsize their home. Many such buyers still work and lead very active lifestyles, so the social and community aspect of their new neighborhood remains important.
To create that sense of community, The Green Company provides homeowners with numerous amenities. The builder even helps the neighborhood social committee get events up and running. Most of the events promote the neighborhood lifestyle, where homes are built in clusters of two or three.
The builder also brings home buyers together via its ambassador program, whereby the company asks current residents to attend events with prospective home buyers and share their experiences with them.Variety in Price
To appeal to a wide variety of tastes and budgets, The Green Company offers eight models in 11 house styles ranging from 1,100 to 2,400 square feet. Over the past few years, the builder has impressed home buyers with its reasonably priced upgrades.
The Green Company's 65 employees, not all pictured here, are a key ingredient to the company's success.
The Green Company has earned a reputation for reliability, too. The builder gives home buyers a closing date when purchasing agreements are signed and will go to great lengths to make that commitment, even switching vendors if it means more reliable deliveries.
This devotion likely comes from the company's relationship with its trade partners: trade partners are treated as internal team members and involved in the building process. As a result, "whenever a tradesman sees a need, he does what it takes to get the company back on track," says Caligaris.
The Green Company also ranks high for having its homes clean and ready for occupancy. Part of its quality assurance program includes several inspections. In addition to regular builder reviews and quality checklists at each step of construction, the design center and an independent builder complete separate walks prior to the final walk-through with a home buyer. The key for The Green Company is to have most every problem corrected before the home is presented to the home buyer at the pre-closing orientation. Orientation lists are small, and most all items can be completed prior to conveyance.Moving On
To show its appreciation, the builder presents each home buyer with a sterling silver Tiffany & Co. key chain, a photo album of the building process, and a laminated card with every department's phone number on it — from Sales to Customer Care, Residential Services, Community Management and emergency contacts — to assure them that they are connected to the company even after closing.
With such systems in place, employees can be more spontaneous in the ways they wow customers. One sales rep arranged for customers to get a lift from a bucket loader so they could get a sense of the view they'd have from their new home.
One thing that consistently surprises new home buyers, however, is the call they get from Alan Green, the company's founder. When prospects sign a nonbinding reservation, the chairman calls them for an informal chat and to answer any questions they may have.
"That really is unique," Sampson says. "It's amazing how people really love that call."
|Question||Difference from Industry Average|
|Reasonable Cost of Upgrades||+ 17.12|
|Time Until Closing||+ 16.68|
|Available and Informative||+ 15.72|
|Home Was Clean & Ready||+ 14.50|
|Made Buying Pleasant||+ 14.49|