In this era of increasing Federal Trade Commission interest in complaints about shoddy workmanship and problems with new houses, more area builders are paying more attention to customer services.
For instance, customer service costs account for 1.2 percent of the total sales volume of the Yeonas Co., but vice president of marketing Houston Park says that the average $855 spent per house is worth it.
Park said that Clark Downing heads a Yeonas customer service department that includes 17 persons, of whom three are full-time inspectors. Carpenters, plumbers, painters and electricians are also on the staff that has a responsibility to satisfy buyers.
"Before a buyer goes into settlement, there is a walk-through. The Yeonas inspector makes a list of defects, some of which are not even noticed by the purchaser. That list is turned over to our construction department for corrections to be made," added Park.
The buyers continues to deal with Yeonas customer service personnel through the warranty period, which may be one or two years depending on the types of mechanical systems installed. "After our own warranty period expires, the customer has major construction protection under the HOW (home owners warranty) insurance program," Park said.
Park said that persons selling Yeonas-built houses consider the customer service program an advantage in dealing with customers. "Some salespersons like to tell stories about repeat sales to people who bought a Yeonas home earlier and were impressed by the service they got," he added.
Many other area home builders now are members of the HOW program set up by the National Association of Home Builders. And many large-volume home builders also have customer service departments to handle complaints.