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Why doing the right thing is always IDEAL

Hudson Model Home in The Woodlands

September 20, 2023

Why doing the right thing is always IDEAL

Ideal Homes & Neighborhoods President Steve Shoemaker explains why customer experience is such a critical factor to creating the best new homes available. It’s one of the reasons Ideal is so different from other home builders and a critical piece of the company’s mission to build Ideal places to live and work. Ideal leadership is focused first and foremost on being a trustworthy and honest company as part of that mission.

Ideal often fixes issues beyond the normal warranty coverage because it’s the right thing to do. 

It’s just the right thing to do. “We plan to be in business for a long time, and we gain absolutely nothing by short-term decisions that don’t benefit our customers,” says Shoemaker. “We pride ourselves on being a company does the right thing, even when we don’t get credit for it. That includes taking care of our customers even in difficult situations.”

It makes Ideal a better place to work. “We can spend all our time dealing with unhappy customers, which would make for an unhappy work environment. Or we can fix the problem and send the customer home happy. You cannot have great people without happy customers,” according to Shoemaker. “Many of us live in our neighborhoods. Our neighbors are our customers; it’s important for us to be good citizens.”

Customer satisfaction

Ideal conducts research surveys with customers three times during their first year of ownership: at closing, six months after closing and a year after closing. The initial survey is about the entire buying experience from sales to customer care. The mid-year survey evaluates the warranty experience. And the final survey is about the home and the products in it.

“We read every survey and contact customers if we have questions,” says Shoemaker. “If we make a mistake, we want to talk to the customer and figure out what we can do to fix it.”

Steve’s advice to customers is to look just as closely at the little things that the builder does as the big things. “We compare ourselves ruthlessly to others in the industry,” Shoemaker continued. “Those little things mean a lot to new homeowners, and if it’s important to our customers, it’s important to us.”

From listening to their customers, Ideal discovered homebuyers are looking for a neighborhood where they can get outside and meet people, one that is attractive, conveniently located, and has things to do near the house. Parks, walking trails and fishing ponds have been shown to be top contenders for making a neighborhood appealing to new homebuyers, so Ideal pumps communities full of ways to enhance homeowners’ lives.

Shoemaker lives what he preaches as a five-time Ideal homeowner. “Part of why we offer an employee discount on our homes is so our people get to live the Ideal life right next door to our customers. They understand what works in our neighborhoods, what our customers like and don’t like. They develop a strong sense of empathy and raise the flag to let us know where we need to do something about it. A bad customer experience is just not who we are,” concluded Shoemaker.