Bricks and Mortar or Lifestyle Choice?

The building and construction industry is an accepted indicator of the health of the UK economy, in particular those firms engaged in house-building. Home ownership is a part of our national character, despite research showing that moving house is in the top 3 most stressful life events. Delays in progress coupled with a lack of information or corrective action are main drivers of customers’ attitudes to their experiences, with the majority stating that they would advocate any service that alleviated their stress.

In the face of insights suggesting that buyers tend to focus on their aspirational lifestyle choices and on emotional needs, the majority of house builders insist upon selling products. In short, they sell houses but customers buy homes. How often on TV do we witness prospective purchasers compromising their requirements for a property that ‘feels right’?

The divide between customer motivations and supplier focus increases customer stress at a time when they need understanding and positive support in order to navigate the stormy passage to moving. The management of a building programme is complex: planning, materials, construction, quality, compliance with Health & Safety, environmental and design requirements each provide challenges and distraction from the issue of customer experience. However, it is essential that attention to customer experience is prioritised, in particular when the decision to purchase has to be taken in the context of a crucial life event, for example childbirth or retirement.

There is strong evidence that consumer expectations are transferable from one product or service to another. What people like about service when buying a car or train ticket, for example, starts to drive expectations when they buy electricity or life insurance or groceries. If they don’t feel valued or if they have to put in too much effort to get what they want, they switch brands or, in the case of house purchase, simply stay put.

The more progressive building companies are starting to recognise the value of providing a great customer experience throughout the entire “interest to ‘snagging’ cycle”. Anyone unsure about the value should call Martin Wright or Stephen Grey on 0845 8382 159.