Monday, January 3, 2011

TRY TALKING TO THE HOME BUYERS

Every modular home builder wants to the best job they can for their clients including making promises both to the new home owner and themselves that they will communicate better.  Then reality sets in and keeping in touch with the client keeps getting further and further behind.

That’s when errors that should have been corrected quickly become gigantic problems that cause both sides to look at each other as adversaries.  But I am going to save that problem for a later article.

There is another communication gap that needs to be addressed.  Factories have never had a relationship with the builder’s customer with the exception of maybe giving them tour of the factory.  That is something that needs addressed in 2011.

As we all know, a house is the largest single purchase most people make.  If they are buying a new house from a modular builder, they are also purchasing something that in the back of their mind they might be a little apprehensive about.  How can the builder help them understand that buying a modular home is one of the smartest home purchases they will make?

The answer is simple.  Get the factory involved in talking with the customer.  The factory is involved long before the customer knows.  When initial floorplan and quote were given by the factory rep to the builder, the factory was involved.  Why not get really involved?

Factories have a “we don’t talk directly to the builder’s customer” attitude and for good reason…lawsuits!  The factory doesn’t want to share in legal actions that might arise from the sale between the builder and their customer.  But in today’s fast paced Twitter, Facebook, Ipad and Iphone world, the factory is going to be dragged into the lawsuit anyway.  The court of public opinion, thanks to the Internet, will try and fry the factory.   Why not try to lessen the chances of that happening in the first place?

If a factory were to hire one person, probably for less than $40k a year, they could establish a dialogue with the customer informing them about new processes and improvements that are being used on their home, where their home is in the production schedule, inviting them to the factory for a personal tour, sending them pictures of their house on the line and much more.  This person would be an extension of the builder’s own communication efforts and the customer’s advocate at the factory and WOULD NOT play any part of representing the builder.  Any time the conversation turns to questions about the builder or their practices, this advocate would remind the customer that they are only helping them while the their house is in process at the factory.

If a buyer is pleased with the time and energy given them before they move in, they are less likely to take legal action, unless the problem really is something that should have been corrected and wasn’t.  If the factory advocate and the builder keep the communication lines open with the customer, it could usher in a new day of understanding for the consumer and raise awareness of the great advantages of going modular.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Coach, this is a stupid idea.

Leroy said...

Coach, this actually could work,however I truly think the factory might do better to have this position filled by someone already on the staff who is familiar with the operation and can steer the consumer's questions to the correct person in the organization to help alleviate many problems. HE/she should also be able to at least interface with the builder network and sales reps.Could be a very important point of contact for all three sides by fielding questions/concerns from the end consumer and relaying pertinent information to builders and reps. about the issues customers are inquiring about and developing action plans to address them .Oh ! silly me thats what the customer service department should be doing.

Anonymous said...

As a customer, the very fact that this conversation is occuring makes me feel that the whole modular deal is a big hustle. It boggles the mind that mod builders and factories have a hard time justifyinf spending money to understand their customer. And..if theres a problem any first year law studnet can see how easy it is to sue everyone involved who touches the finished product. And before you guys jump on me for saying that, most builders are the first to non-perform or sue customers when disagreements occur.