The Beating Heart of Customer Satisfaction: 5 Steps to Surveying Your Customers
Being in business is hard work, and there are no shortcuts to becoming successful. There is, however, one critical task you can do to increase success – talk to your customers! Only in listening can you find out what is and what isn't working in your business. Seems like common sense, but many companies don't take advantage of measuring customer satisfaction.
Some companies are missing the opportunity to listen to and get to know their customers. As Kathleen Kuhn, President of HouseMaster, puts it, "Customer satisfaction is at the heart of what we do. Our home inspectors need to be able to measure customer satisfaction to know how well they are doing their job – and our customer surveys are a major way of accomplishing that." HouseMaster uses Satmetrix, a customer experience management tool, to survey its customers. With a Net Promoter Score of 85 (50 is considered "Best in Class"), the results of listening to the customer seem to be working.
In today's social world getting input from your customers has become quite easy and painless.
Here are some tips and tricks you can use to survey your customers:
You will need to form your survey questions, and crafting them takes some work. Make sure to add open-ended questions so you can gather data that is very specific; if your customer rates you one star out of five, you need to know why. Keep your survey short to respect your customer's time and increase response rates.
You can create and send out your survey the old-fashioned way with self-addressed stamped envelopes, OR you can use a web-based survey provider such as surveymonkey.com to go paperless and to save time. There are also many companies that will help you build the surveys and deliver them. Try thesurveycompany.com.
Timing is Everything
Send out your survey upon completion of the transaction, to ensure the results are fresh and accurate. Let your clients know that you are going to be sharing a survey with them.
Just sending a survey is very useful for growing your business, but the magic is in the follow-up. If your client reveals in their survey that they were unhappy, sending them a follow-up note or email in response can make a significant impression and possibly result in a future positive transaction.
Use the feedback you get to improve your weak spots. All feedback may not be all positive, but identifying needed improvements is the first step to success.
When you reach out and ask your customers for feedback, they appreciate your attention to detail and thoroughness. Professionalism is a path to referrals and brand identity!
Are You A Realtor?
There are many advantages to choosing HouseMaster, but when you add them all up it's clear that your local HouseMaster office is the right choice when you want a home inspection done right.
There are several significant benefits to real estate service professionals for encouraging that a quality property inspection be performed on every transaction.
Helping your customers or clients understand the condition of the home they are buying or selling can offer you these two primary benefits:
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1. Increased Referrals From Satisfied Customers
Real estate has never been more competitive and today's consumers expect the best from all service providers involved in their transaction. Research has also shown that consumers often become loyal sources of on-going referrals.
Knowing the condition of the home they are purchasing can often make a buyer more confident about their purchase because they feel they've made an informed decision. This helps build the real estate professional's stature and potential for future referrals.
As a matter of fact, in one survey, top producers estimated that 65% of their business comes as a result of repeat business and referrals from past clients and customers. So it's always important to remember that today's customer is tomorrow's advertisement.
How HouseMaster inspectors can help your customers stay satisfied.
- HouseMaster inspectors are thorough, professional, and report on all the conditions of the home including strengths and weaknesses. And their service is backed by the HouseMaster Limited Repair Reimbursement Guarantee (where available). This Limited Inspection Guarantee assures that our inspectors will do their very best on each and every inspection. To review the details, terms and conditions of this Limited Guarantee, contact your local HouseMaster office.
- HouseMaster inspectors are both technically proficient and professional in the way they carry out their inspections. Our inspectors are provided training through NIBI (The National Institute of Building Inspectors), or an equivalent professional training organization. This type of professional inspector training assures you that your inspector is proficient in the necessary areas of residential construction and understands the property inspection process.
- *HouseMaster founded NIBI in 1987 in an effort to standardize training and testing for HouseMaster inspectors. Today NIBI training and on-going testing is open to all property inspectors via classroom or on-line training. Visit NIBI.com for more information on NIBI training opportunities. NIBI is a registered trademark of ProTeam, Inc.
2. Decreased Liability
Lawsuits are a fact of life in the Real Estate Industry, and many of them are unwarranted. Too often the real estate firm is held accountable for defects found after the buyer moves into a home. This fact is surprising in light of a recent study by ASHI (The American Society of Home Inspectors) and NAR (The National Association of Realtors), which found that NAR members recommend a home inspection almost 100% of the time.
What could be going wrong?
Basically, not all property inspectors offer the same quality of service. In speaking with top legal counsel of several major real estate firms, HouseMaster found that too often their agents are involved in lawsuits over home defects even though the buyer hired an inspector.
This can occur because the home inspector was either un-insured, un-trained, or otherwise un-qualified, and thus the legal liability fell back on the real estate firm or other service provider. Here are a few things your clients should ask about when interviewing an inspector:
- Errors and Omissions Insurance. If the firm your customer chooses does not have this insurance, you increase the likelihood that you could be left holding the bag should a significant claim arise after the deal has closed.
- Training and On-Going Education. Claims may arise because the inspector is un-informed or un-trained and thus misses a defect. Even in States and Provinces where licensing is required, on-going education is often lacking. And remember, experience does not replace the need for property inspectors to have an on-going source of education and access to technical support.
- Inspection Report Quality. It's vital that the report the home inspector provides to your customer is detailed, easy to understand and professional. The inspector's report should include particulars such as ages (if possible) and makes of the systems in the property, as well as general information and definitions on common concerns. This information should be in addition to detail regarding the condition of each major element of the home.
- Post-Inspection Assistance. This is a very general area, but it is crucial to customer satisfaction, your ability to convert customers into referral sources, and the reduction of liability. What services or communications does your property inspector have with the homebuyer after the inspection? What guidelines or Limited Repair Reimbursement Guarantees are in place to address a defect discovered after the closing?
The solution that can help you increase future business and reduce liability is to educate your customers on the value of a professional property inspection and how to select a quality property inspector. Your local independently owned and operated HouseMaster® office will be happy to discuss the FREE educational tools available through HouseMaster inspectors to accomplish this, or you can simply send your clients to visit with us at www.housemaster.com.
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