Monday, October 24, 2011

Look outside your industry ... how do you stack up?

Spent some time today on a call with our team in Tampa, working on the customer experience we want to deliver in our new community, planned to open in mid-2012. We tossed around the usual notions of how to encourage customers to sign up with us, online and in person, so we can learn more about their home and community preferences. Not to hard sell them. Not to spam or e-blast the you know what out of them. But to help us keep learning about what matters to them, so we can continue to create communities that are relevant to changing buyers' needs, and help our customers along the exhausting and challenging home shopping journey.

Should we use tablets?
Should we use tech at all?
How can we make it simple, real time and best of all fun?
How can we integrate online and in-person among the community developer (us) and our builder partners?

As we created the amazing variety of journies our customers will take with us, trying to create a simple and easy approach became more and more complex. We are all customers too, so we inevitably referred back to those iconic customer service experiences held up as gold standards - the "blue shirts" in the Apple store, the seamless airline check-in experience, even some new examples from the automotive world. The discussion was great, and it reminded me of a few simple truths:

  • Customers compare you to their last best customer service experience, regardless of the industry. If you are comparing yourself within an industry, just remember... your customers aren't.

  • Every front of house opportunity has its share of back of house problems ... and they are all worth working through.

  • The kind of thinking needed to do this should make your brain hurt. If it doesn't, you likely aren't thinking hard enough.

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