Developing Lifelong Customers
How does a company go about developing lifelong customers? One way is to make sure its employee processes are completely attuned to keeping the customer satisfied at every step along the way. Doing that requires a thorough and detailed feedback program, such as the one Polaris conducts for Arvida, a real estate development company owned by the St. Joe Co. of Florida.
Polaris surveys each Arvida homebuyer throughout the first year of the home buying process. Starting with an initial buyer profile survey given when the homebuyer initially shows interest, Advida then conducts surveys about sales, design, construction, closing and warranty.�This process provides Arvida management with a full understanding of the entire homebuying experience from the customers' perspective. The data has helped Arvida build a strong connection between its internal procedures, its customer satisfaction numbers and its bottom line. In an industry where customers referred by existing homeowners can be 10 times more likely to purchase a home, the impact of the relationship is clear.
"We felt that if we could improve our processes, our customer satisfaction levels would improve dramatically, and they have," according to Arvida's vice president of sales. "We knew that, if we got them high enough, there would be significant financial benefits. Our referral rates would go up, and word of mouth would have far greater impact on our sales, so fewer marketing dollars would need to be spent. And most importantly, if we could improve our processes, customers would enjoy living in our communities even more."
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