October 4 2019

Move-In Ready: Great Customer Service Becomes Self-Service

by Erin

Self Service Sales Center Kiosk

Self-Service Technology moves home shoppers quickly and efficiently toward critical information and increased engagement.

 

By Zoe Miller

 

Customer service should be all about the customer, but only that person truly knows his or her needs and goals, mood and interests, preferred pace and overall schedule. The buyer’s journey in residential real estate (the largest consumer industry) is the most consequential, so it stands to reason this is when customers would demand the most convenience and control.

 

Enter self-service technology (SST), a solution that helps customers or prospects serve themselves. If you’ve used an ATM or self-checkout at a grocery store, you’ve used this kind of technology. Self-service technology has become a key element of the home buying process as buyers grow more comfortable with it. Whether online or in a sales center, SST empowers the customer by delivering the right information in the right way at the right time. 

 

Convenience, Control & Connection

 

Convenience is always a top priority for new home shoppers who find themselves with countless questions in need of timely answers. Just as smart home technology has been the latest trend for convenience, self-service technology helps prospective home buyers by providing fast and concise information. Questions that may have once required a phone call or even a face-to-face meeting can now be answered through a self-service solution, available 24/7. 

 

More than anything else, homebuyers seek a value-unique experience—a level of service that will inspire not just sales, but enthusiastic referrals. Online resources should be replete with impactful visuals and an easy-to-understand user experience. Interactive kiosks and even the use of virtual reality technology belong front and center in a sales center so home shoppers can easily find them. Reduced friction and maximum convenience and engagement are highly valued by home shoppers.

 

Customized Over Customary 

 

It’s important for home builders to understand that communication doesn’t have to equal conversation or even human interaction. Interaction typically follows waiting in line or on the phone or for an appointment time—and that’s rarely convenient. An easy-to-navigate and engaging self-service experience will go a long way toward buyer satisfaction. 

 

Home shoppers also value personalization and customization—information that's tailored to their specific situation. When SST automation is used to create a customized experience with targeted follow-ups regarding time frames or product tips, people don’t forget. 

 

What’s worse than a problem? The frustration over not knowing how to resolve it. Home shoppers and home builders alike benefit when SST can solve problems and answer questions. An interactive two-way setup with results, feedback, and proposed resolution boosts the customer experience. Specific home shopping questions that can be addressed with SST range from pricing, availability and construction schedules to elevations, floor plans, and other details.

Zoe Miller Headshot

It all adds up to value-unique—a level of customer service that's actionable and personable.

 

 

— Zoe Miller is a principal at Computer Presentation Systems in the Sacramento, California area. The 25+-year veteran of the home building industry sets the company’s development strategies and oversees its daily operations.

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