Putting the Care into Customer Care
September 24, 2021
What is Customer Care? It’s simple, says Ron Olson, Director of Customer Care for Ideal Homes & Neighborhoods. “We take care of our customers.” Ron has worked with Ideal’s new homeowners for 21 years, the last two as director of the Customer Care department.
He and his Ideal staff members are responsible for finalizing any last-minute details before a homeowner closes on their new home. Customer Care reps also ensure that the owners understand how to operate the home’s systems so it runs efficiently and lasts longer.
How does the Customer Care process work?
While the customer works with their Ideal Homes & Neighborhoods sales associate through the entire building process, they transition to the Customer Care team about a month before closing. At that time, their rep reaches out to introduce themselves, congratulate the customer on the completion of their home, and schedule the in-home inspection a few days before closing.
Quality Assurance (QA) inspection.
The QA inspection happens about a week before closing. It includes a top-to-bottom, inside-outside inspection of the completed home. Customer Care team members look for cosmetic issues, functional things like the roof and plumbing, as well as potential problems. Everything is marked in the home and digital work orders are sent to the builder and the Home Detail Team (HDT).
Ideal Homes & Neighborhoods homeowner orientation occurs about three days before closing. At that time, the Customer Care rep repeats the comprehensive house walk with the new owner to identify anything not completed at that point. The goal is for the home to be clean, complete, and ready for them.
In addition to looking everything over, orientation is an educational tour to teach the new Ideal homeowners how to care for and use their new home. The new homeowners look at all the features and are given a briefing on how everything works, as well as specific tips on how to operate the home most efficiently. The Customer Care rep answers questions and addresses concerns.
Homeowners Guide – The Customer Care rep provides a homeowner guide with useful information and a list of important phone numbers. It includes:
- Things to do immediately – setting up utilities and registering for warranties.
- Information on manufacturers’ warranties.
- Common warranty concerns and things the warranty does not cover.
- Tools and other items that you will need cleaning and care products, and products to avoid.
- Landscaping tips, window information, and seasonal home care.
Ideal Homes & Neighborhoods provides a two-year limited warranty on all its homes. While some things are covered by the builder, others are guaranteed by the manufacturer, including appliances, heat and air systems, windows, and guaranteed heating and cooling costs. These manufacturers’ warranties usually require registration by a specified date.
According to Ron Olson, “Ideal builds a great home – that’s why we can warranty all our homes. We will take care of our owners.”
Follow-up Walks – Ideal Homes & Neighborhoods provides two in-home follow-ups to check on the homeowners and the home after closing.
- 60 Days – The owners have had a chance to move in and live in and use the home. The Customer Care rep identifies small issues, such as a dripping faucet.
- 11-Month Walk – The homeowner can contact Customer Care to schedule this walk as a final opportunity to review everything in time to address any issues before the end of the first-year warranty.