How new homebuilders can improve the entire customer journey

There are several stressful stages in a person’s life, and whatever those stages are, engaging with a company who is efficient and answers all the concerns at an instant can go a long way toward providing a positive experience for a customer.

2020 taught us many things, and one specifically is that buying a new home—especially for first time home buyers—is incredibly difficult. Whether it be the lack of new homes to meet the demand of new home buyers, or the skyrocketing prices, the past year has been emotionally and mentally exhausting for home buyers.

It is times like these where brands need to be providing a customer experience that exceeds their expectations wherever possible. Active home buyers are in stiff competition for every existing and new construction home. They want to receive answers as soon as possible, because with how fast homes sell these days, waiting for the sales team to respond in a few hours, or longer, may mean the difference between getting into a home, or getting shut out. No matter if it’s the buyer’s first or fourth time buying a home, the current landscape is so extremely competitive that working with a team who is great at communication will meaningfully improve the overall customer experience.

During this last year, digital communication has been crucial to the survival of businesses around the world. As the country begins to open, and fewer restrictions are in place, these expectations for constant and instant communication will not be going away. If anything, the pandemic has caused a lasting expectation from customers that businesses improve their communication tactics. Businesses can’t expect to only be contacted by customers during the traditional business hours and having a live chat function on their website often leads to more headaches than solutions as customer service teams are inadequately staffed to meet the increased demand.

As companies were forced to downsize and furlough critical staff, demand for communication increased, causing a snowball effect that turned many customer experiences from positive to negative. Some forward-thinking companies saw this coming and turned to automated technologies like chatbots to solve these communication issues. Chatbots have provided customers the freedom to interact with businesses on their own terms and on their own time. A lot of customer’s concerns are easily answered, and in fact, over half of customer queries today are managed by an AI chatbot.

As we all went virtual over a year ago, the rise in automated technology began, and AI-powered chatbots suddenly became a necessity, not just a luxury, for many businesses of all sizes. Top home builders around the country sought out chatbots to help improve their engagement with leads and help qualify serious buyers, separating them from the casual customers so their sales teams could more effectively close deals.

“Our automated model home follow-up has allowed us to take the guess work out of engaging with prospects that are ready to take action. When we can direct our efforts toward those higher-quality buyers, our sales team is more effective and efficient at turning leads into buyers,” said Anissa Leverett, VP of Marketing for Esperanza Homes.

Working more efficiently will help sales teams reduce the number of unqualified leads to which they have to respond and allow them to focus on engaging with customers who are ready to buy.  For the customer, a chatbot gives them 24/7 access to information and answers to frequently asked questions, allowing them to do their research when it is most convenient to them, not just when it is convenient for the business.

In addition, chatbots can eliminate the need for long queue times to reach a live chat agent, and in some cases, allow a home buyer to research available homes, tour the model, and complete an application all without having to speak to or engage with a live person. This sort of self-service option is great for many buyers who wish to handle much of the process on their own, while still allowing a salesperson to engage with buyers at the right time and to close the sale.

“The AtlasRTX solution allows us to communicate effectively with prospects in a timely manner and gather crucial information at several points in the sales cycle. This eliminates a lot of wasted time and speeds up the sales cycle, while ensuring we don’t miss sales due to lack of follow-up,” said Lise Anzelone, Regional Director of Sales for HH Hunt Homes.

Whether or not a home builder is ready to commit to automation and artificial intelligence, chatbots are already making a positive impact on the entire sales journey for customer and sales team alike.