“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can never live long enough to make them all yourself.” ~Groucho MarxYou can bet your life that Groucho was right. Time is short. Why not speed up the learning curve and learn from others’ mistakes and successes?
Use Customer Evaluations to Motivate Your StaffYelp. Trip Advisor. Amazon. We are getting pretty used to rating our experiences. Without question, it is a lot easier to rate than be rated. Builder staff always gets a bit uncomfortable when we first bring customer evaluations to the party. Anxiety producing, threatening. But remember the words of Alfred E. (“What, me worry?”) Neuman: “Always do what you are afraid to do.” The reality is that customer evaluations are the most effective way to generate a rapid change in staff and vendor behavior:
- Share aggregated monthly team member ratings with all team members in that department
- Our highest scoring builders have us email a copy of the ‘Sales Associate Ranking Report’ to all sales associates each month. This is a self-motivating report: No sales person will want to see their name at the bottom of this ranking list more than once. And if they are comfortable with being the worst performer for more than a few months, termination will remind all staff of the importance you place on customer satisfaction.
- Integrate customer ratings into your performance bonus plan (email me for our white paper on the most effective comp plans)
Use Customer Feedback to Improve Trade PerformanceWhen evaluating trade partners’ performance, who knows more about your trades’ actual performance than your homeowners? Use customers’ evaluations of each trade’s and vendor’s performance:
- Quality of workmanship for cabinets, countertops, flooring, etc.
- Post-move in service
- Mortgage and design center experience
How to Increase Survey ResponseRegardless of how you are collecting customer evaluations, it is critical to hear from as many customers as possible. Here is what our client builders are doing to average 70 percent response:
- In addition to the flyers we provide to distribute to homebuyers, and the sweepstakes drawing for survey participants, the most important driver of response rates is the manner in which you set complete expectations with each customer. Tell them all about your surveying process: How many, when, importance of their feedback, etc.
- Call customers who check the ‘Contact-Me’ box within 48-hours. Ignored customers will never complete another survey!
- Call, text, or email to thank customers for responding.