Strata is a contemporary homebuilder with developments across Yorkshire and the Midlands. The customer has always been at the heart of the company, but Strata is now transforming its business with a digital approach that’s unique to the industry.
“We’re striving to be more than just a housebuilder – we want to be a truly digital business,” said Paul Stone, Director of Business Development at Strata. In an industry that’s traditionally driven by disparate spreadsheets, Paul is bringing together silos with a 360-degree view of the customer, personalised communications, and complete transparency for home buyers throughout the entire purchasing process and beyond.
Customer service is everything at Strata and this is reflected in its customer satisfaction ratings. The company has a four-star rating on TrustPilot and according to the National Home Builders Council survey, 95% of its customers would recommend Strata to others, winning the company five stars for customer satisfaction for 2016 and 2017.
These ratings are in no small part down to the company’s seamless digital approach, which it has invested in over five years. “When I first came to Strata in 2013, it was a traditional house-building organisation, with siloes of information and people working in disparate ways and systems, often relying on notes in personal diaries and calendars,” said Paul.
Quickly recognising the value that centralised CRM could deliver, Paul set about digitalising the business. And with previous experience of the solution, Paul immediately turned to Salesforce. “With Salesforce you don’t need to worry about servers or maintenance,” he said. “It’s also easy and fast to configure, so you don’t need a team of highly skilled developers to make Salesforce your own.”
Strata now uses Sales Cloud, Pardot, Service Cloud, and a mobile app to connect and communicate with its customers and make their home buying experience as seamless and enjoyable as possible.
For many of Strata’s customers, the house-buying journey begins online. When a customer requests more information, on Strata’s website processes are triggered in Pardot and Sales Cloud to ensure the customer receives regular, relevant and personalised communications. “We use Pardot to drip-feed content and campaigns to prospects,” explained Paul. “The building and buying process can be pretty lengthy at up to two years, but with Salesforce we can keep in touch at every stage – from booking a viewing to moving in.”
Every prospect is assigned to a customer experience manager based at the location in which they have shown interest. This personal approach means the manager is regularly onsite and completely up to date on the latest developments. “We capture all our development information in Salesforce, so we have instant access to the available plots, viewing schedules, and options available to buyers,” said Paul. “This means we can always provide consistent and accurate information.”
With every aspect of the journey tracked in Salesforce, including the mortgage application and legal process, Paul and his colleagues have a single view of their customers and the business, enabling them to be more knowledgeable and more efficient.
This transparency is extended to customers via a mobile app that’s updated by project managers onsite at developments. “Using the app, they can update the status for each property, and these updates are then automatically sent on to the customer so they’re always in the know,” explained Paul. “The app is really easy to use with the minimum possible clicks for each update and no training required.”
By providing its customers with ongoing updates on when the foundations are in, the kitchen is completed, and the water connected, Strata can keep them excited and engaged. “Buying a new house is a really emotive experience, and we want our customers to enjoy every minute, and not worry about whether it’s going to be completed on time,” said Paul.
In the future, Paul and his team are hoping to enhance this transparency of the home-building process for customers using Community Cloud. “We’re planning to create an online community where customers can log in and interact with us so they feel even more connected to the process,” said Paul.
Once the house is complete and the customer is in their new home, Strata’s customer care team and Service Cloud take over. With access to a rich customer history, the customer care team can ensure they’re providing a rapid and consistent response to any concerns or maintenance issues
“With Service Cloud, we can uncover any trends, for example if properties at a certain site are all experiencing similar issues, and prevent them from happening again,” said Paul. “It’s enabling a continuous loop that uses insights from our customers to improve our homes and our customer service. As a company, we’re always learning and evolving, and Salesforce supports that process.”