It Isn’t Just Business, It’s Personal: Four Keys to Delivering Industry-Leading Customer Satisfaction
There’s nothing more personal than home, as the last year made clear. That also means the stakes are high when it comes to earning a satisfied customer. In 2020, stay-at-home orders, construction slowdowns and pandemic-related supply and labor shortages created a particularly challenging environment. In spite of this, KB Home continued to be the #1 customer-ranked national homebuilder, and our customer satisfaction actually increased compared to the year before.
How did we get there? By creating a business model that aligns our interests and those of our customers to create an exceptional personalized customer experience.
KB Home’s vision is to be the most customer-obsessed homebuilder in the world, so having our customers honor us with the highest customer satisfaction ratings and reviews among our peers is a tremendous privilege. For us, and for our homebuyers, this is personal.
Below are four keys to creating satisfied customers:
#1 — Let the customer have a say, and what they have to say will be great.
In my 40+ years in the homebuilding business, I’ve found that there’s a direct correlation between customer engagement and their satisfaction after the home is delivered. It’s just natural that if they’re part of creating the product, they’ll probably be more satisfied with the result. That’s one reason why KB Home offers an extraordinary level of personalization. We partner with our customers to express their creative vision, with the goal that they get a home that exceeds their expectations. They choose everything from the homesite and floor plan to exterior elevation styles and design options — all the details that make their home uniquely their own. The customer is invested in the product; they can see themselves expressed in every choice they make. We find that giving our customers personalized choice over perhaps the most important purchase of their lives can naturally create brand advocates.
#2 — Deliver a personalized experience, not just a great product.
Even if you’re in a business where the product doesn’t lend itself to personalization, you can still personalize the experience with exceptional customer service and a true partnership. At KB Home, we offer a distinctive experience with the customer at the center of everything we do, from the moment the customer logs onto our website until they walk through their new front door and beyond. Communication is critical. Unlike some other builders where the buyer signs the contract and then hears very little until the home is ready, we have a dedicated community team that oversees every aspect of each home we build and communicates progress at least weekly. The team is made up of every function that touches the home, including sales, design studio, construction and customer service. Together, they partner with our customers to bring their dreams to life. Each step of the way, as we build the relationship, we build satisfaction. Even this last year, while keeping our homebuyers’ and employees’ health a top priority, we implemented virtual communication systems to maintain our high customer service standards. These included virtual construction site “visits,” virtual confirmations of construction progress, and video warranty claims. This true partnership approach helps to create a relationship that lasts long after we hand over the keys. I have even heard stories over the years of community team members invited to birthday parties and school events, becoming part of the customer’s life journey and almost part of the family. This is only possible by building a true personalized relationship.
#3 –Deliver personal value, not the lowest cost, to create truly satisfied customers.
Competing on price is a tricky proposition, even more so when your goal is a fully satisfied customer. That’s because at the end of the day, price isn’t as important as value — and value is personal. That’s even truer in my business. Homebuyers aren’t just investing in a new home, they’re investing in themselves and their future. At KB Home, our customers create their own value through our personalization process. Some of our competitors build the home before they have a buyer, choosing features for the buyer and hoping they get it right. Then the market determines its value, often by forcing the builder to offer sales incentives and the buyer to compromise on their dreams. Instead, we put our homebuyers firmly in control of designing the home they want based on how they live and what they value, at an affordable price. Then we build it for them from the ground up using quality construction standards. By striving to overdeliver on our customers’ expectations, KB Home creates high personal value.
#4 — Post-sale surveys are there to confirm what you already know — there should be no surprises.
The post-sale survey should just confirm what you already know. At KB Home, we formalize feedback with a series of check-ins and quality checklists along the way. Our internal standard that we strive to meet for every home is 100% complete, 100% on time and 100% customer satisfaction. We are pleased to receive the distinction of being the #1 Customer-Ranked National Homebuilder in third-party customer surveys. In 2020, we reached our highest-ever full-year customer satisfaction index rating of 95.14%. We are the highest-rated national builder on TrustBuilder®, an independent, industry-specific, homeowner review site, earning 4.6 out of 5 stars and achieving or tying for #1 on the site in nearly every one of our markets. Most of all, I am honored that 94% of our homeowners say they would recommend us to their friends — that’s personal.
A home is the largest purchase most people make in their lifetimes and an investment in themselves and their future. For us, that concept is at the heart of our industry-leading customer satisfaction, a place from which we are honored to build our future and that of our homeowners. As one of our homebuyers in the Houston area said in her review, “All I can say is, WOW! I’ve enjoyed this journey from beginning to end. The Design Studio, my sales counselor and construction manager all helped me every step of the way. I’m so glad I chose KB Home as my homebuilder. I would most definitely recommend them to build your home for life.” Now that’s satisfaction made personal.