If you’re unfamiliar with a company, what’s the first thing you do to learn more? Google it or visit the company’s website, right?
Websites are especially useful tools in the custom-building market, because they can showcase the builder’s work and expertise. A website is a visual marketing tool that can create an image of the builder. You can actually tell a lot about a company by its website and its promotional materials. If you want a builder who is truly custom and customer-centered, here’s what to look for in his company’s materials:
Current examples of work – It should be easy for successful custom builders to show examples of their work in high-quality photography on their website. If photos are outdated, blurry or of poor quality, think twice about that particular builder. His attention to detail may be lacking. Or, if there are no examples, it could be an indication that the builder has not developed strong relationships with customers.
Customer accolades – If there is a page for customer testimonials or feedback on a builder’s website, look at what these say. While there is a story behind every complaint, pay special attention to how the builder responded to the complaint. In fact, builders who include customer service complaint resolutions on their websites are probably the best in the customer support department, because they are not afraid to acknowledge that they make mistakes, but they know how to fix them. These stories are indicative of how the builder handles customer relationships in general.
Pictures of the builder’s team – Photos of management team conveys friendliness to the customer and positions the business as open to new clients. The photos can be candid shots, or good business head shots, as long as they are high quality and exude confidence and professionalism.
Pictures of the builder’s office – This should not be a picture of a pick-up truck at a construction site! Look for a builder who has a physical office, and has actual employees working there. It gives the builder credibility and financial soundness. If the builder has a support staff, this will free up more time for him to personally be with clients. It also tends to mean he’s more organized than most, can keep to a schedule and move your project along its timeline.
Phone numbers – So many websites have no readily accessible phone numbers! How do they expect to get business? A contact form is fine, but it’s rather impersonal. Talking to someone on the phone can be quicker and more customized to the caller’s needs. Phone numbers demonstrate that the builder welcomes your call. If you call that number and get a recording during business hours, you should evaluate what type of service you’re hoping to get. If you truly want personalization, look for a company that has a human at the other end.
Robust, updated content – While it takes a good marketer to make the most of website content, you can tell something about a builder by the age and tone of the content on the site. If it’s not been updated in months or it is incomplete or repetitive, you can conclude that the builder is either so busy he doesn’t have time to deal with the website and therefore doesn’t need the business it can procure, or he’s simply lazy and has no attention to detail – a trait you don’t want in your custom builder.
Grammatically correct copy, free of typos – Poorly written copy and poorly proofread copy is a red flag all around. It simply screams “LAZY.” If the builder can’t even correct a typo, how can he build your dream house?
Industry resource – If you learn something about the custom building industry or can find facts and figures on the builder’s website, he’s probably up to date on industry trends. He is positioning himself as a resource, and who wouldn’t want to do business with someone who knows so much about the building industry? Check out TCB’s free, unbiased Contractors Standards Guide, a guide for choosing the right contractor for your home remodeling project.
Never let a website or brochure take the place of a face-to-face interaction. It can be the gateway to a meeting if you see something you like, but it is not a substitute. Customer-focused builders always want to meet the customer.