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The game has changed - customer service is no longer option

Today’s average consumer wants a “one-stop shop” approach to customer service and that means dealing with anything they may wish to report.

Increasingly this presents a major challenge to any developer, requiring them to carefully consider policies and procedures, fronted by a smart, friendly yet highly capable resource.     

There are many varied reasons why this is so, but for the most part this can be summarised as a combination of the relative complexity of the modern dwelling and the significant increase in consumer expectations.

Perception

How a developer handles a customer when they have something to report contributes heavily toward the perception a homeowner has of the company they have bought their new home from.

Handle it badly and you can expect unhappy consequences – the shift over recent years for people to complain far more readily has arisen largely due to the availability and immediacy of digital communication. It is far too easy to send out an email complaining about something and copy the world in.

So whatever the issue, do not allow it to go unmanaged or become the customer’s problem to chase because it will cost you dearly in the end.

New-build purchasers expect their property will be in perfect condition at the date of purchase. Such consumers typically purchase a new build because it fits their needs.

No longer optional

Customer care has never been regarded as a business critical function of housebuilding - until recently. The game has changed and developers are on the back foot if they don’t have a robust and professional customer service team in place.

Traditionally an array of ‘conveniently available’ staff may have collectively handled inbound problems and complaints - the receptionist, an office administrator, a passing departmental head.

And there was a time when this may have been adequate. But today, an administrator taking calls is not customer care.  A site manager sending the foreman to see an unhappy homeowner is not customer care.  And repairing a leaking shower three months after it was first reported is not customer care.

Caring for the customer is a state of mind, an attitude and a willingness to get things done when a customer is in need. Caring for your customer is about caring for the bottom line - ignore the former and you do so at great cost to the latter.

Mark Hicklin is a director at After Build

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