3 Traits of Builders with the Highest Customer Ratings

As a customer experience consulting firm, our team is constantly reviewing the current research, looking for better ways to create customers who will recommend our clients to their friends. Of course, not everyone believes in consumer research. Henry Ford once said “If we had asked people what they wanted, they would have said ‘a faster horse.’ ”

Hard to argue with Henry…especially when he is right. And that’s why we don’t ask consumers to come up with inventive ideas, we just ask them to explain what they need to make their lives more comfortable, satisfying. In the early 1980’s, consumers weren’t specifically begging for cup holders in their cars, but research revealed complaints that they found it difficult to drive a car while holding on to a cup of hot coffee. Honda listened, and their creation – the driver’s area cup holder – gave them a unique competitive advantage for two years.

Eliant surveyed over 90,000 home buyers and home owners last year. We asked them for their opinions and suggestions; their evaluation of their builder, lender, design center, and escrow firm. From these customer evaluations, the two highest rated builders from among 156 builders across the nation were MBK Homes (Irvine, CA) and The Olson Company (Seal Beach, CA). No surprise here: Both of these builders have been receiving our top ratings for many years.

On February 23, 2017, in front of 180 home building executives who attended this event from across the nation, there was a lot of whooping and hollering when both these builders learned that they had again won the top awards at the 21st annual “Eliant Homebuyers’ Choice Awards” ceremony.

What have MBK Homes, The Olson Company, Brookfield Residential, The New Home Company, Willam Lyon Homes and other strong builders been doing to perennially stand out in a crowd?

Here are THREE major characteristics of highly rated home builders:

  1. These firms have strong leaders who drive and support their team’s customer focused effort. Company presidents promote continuous attention to the completed surveys because they model the behavior they are trying to promote:
    • These chief executives personally review every submitted customer evaluation. In fact, I have been in meetings with the New Home Company’s management team when Larry Webb’s phone dings and he holds up his phone to share a copy of a customer evaluation that just came to him in near real-time.
  • Managers hold their teams accountable for improved ratings or for explanations of poor customer evaluations.
  • They meet with trades who are contributing to lower ratings.
  1. These highly rated builders also have incredible ‘Sales from Referrals’ rates between 35-45% each year. Builders which follow our “Blueprint for An Extraordinary Customer Experience” pay close attention to our short list of specific staff behaviors which are closely correlated with buyers’ willingness to refer a friend. (“Referral Drivers”)
  2. 90% of our builder clients integrate their customer ratings as criteria in their Performance Bonus calculations. As part of our service package, Eliant’s team has been helping builders create successful bonus programs which truly motivate team members to higher levels of performance.


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