A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, shifts in our lifestyles are continuing to change the way we feel about housing. It’s driving many people to remodel, upgrade or even relocate entirely. Though real estate remains local and varies from market to market, in many ways, the housing market is thriving.
Are Consumers Buying Homes During Coronavirus?
Beginning in October 2020, G&S Communications conducted a series of polls to understand how COVID19 fundamentally reshaped consumer behaviors – and their housing plans. Among respondents who do not own their home, nearly half (48%) say they are at least somewhat likely to buy their first home in the next year! Another key finding was that half of Americans who are interested in buying a new home prefer either a remodeling project or a custom-built home, indicating that consumers in one way or another really want to put their own stamp on real estate purchases.
Though the housing remains a top priority for many consumers, corporate communication strategies used before pandemic won’t hold the same weight today. Real estate, construction and building materials companies need to tailor their communications tactics and offer unique service experiences. With happy customers at the heartbeat of any new business pipeline, these real estate and building companies must find ways not only to attract loyal customers but also to empower them as eager evangelists of their business.
Builders and vendors abound, so reputation matters in a hot real estate market. Consumers select construction contractors and material suppliers, and real estate companies based on referrals and peer reviews, and brands must build an ironclad reputation to reap the benefits of this surge in demand, and future housing sales. Here are three tips to shore up your reputation to transform customers into raving fans.
Wow your customers with a proactive communications strategy.
COVID-19 is driving the best brands to get ahead of consumers’ concerns about safety, timing and quality. Beyond that, real estate and building companies need a B2I, “Business to individual” approach, anticipating and responding to customers when and how they want it. Whether it’s touting the latest products via e-newsletter, calling about a special offer or sharing news about your brand, touchpoints with customers will go far to engage them. Potential customers will become accustomed to receiving relevant content and increasingly trust the brand.
But if something goes awry, make amends immediately.
Make sure your customers feel seen and heard by remedying any communications or quality issues promptly – or risk damaging your reputation. Was the wrong grout used during bathroom remodeling because of a communications issue? Will a shipping delay mean the kitchen reno won’t be finished until next week? These issues will surely impact your customers’ level of satisfaction, and ultimately retention. Address issues head on to keep customer loyalty.
Ask for a referral.
One thing that the pandemic hasn’t changed is the power of word of mouth, whether from a trusted friend or an online review. If all goes well throughout the customer journey, ask your customers to recommend your business to friends and family who are considering purchasing or remodeling a home. Take it a step further and ask them to write a review online. Showcase your reviews on social media and on your website as testimonials.
The new world order continues to drive people to move and renovate. Homeowners and buyers will look to home and building brands they trust to find or create a home that best meets their needs; be sure to be the company that communicates well and meets their expectations.
Access our in-depth report on what's next for real estate and building companies in our Reshaping the Future series here.
This G&S Snap Poll was administered online in October 2020 to a representative U.S. sample of 1,050 adults aged 18. The sample has been balanced for age and gender based on the Census Bureau’s American Community survey to reflect the demographic composition of the U.S.