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Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast Digital Marketing Podcast Hosted by Greg Bray and Kevin Weitzel

69 Empowered Buyers' Influence in the Digital World - Tim Bailey

Empowered Buyers' Influence in the Digital World - Tim Bailey

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Join Tim Bailey, Chief Strategy Officer of Avid Ratings, this week on the Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast. He joins Greg Bray and Kevin Weitzel to discuss how empowered buyers are the driving influence in the home building industry. 

Tim Bailey holds the position of Chief Strategy Officer at Avid Rating. He helps the building industry leverage research, data, and analytics to create customer experience excellence. He has spent most of his career in the construction industry, starting at 16 years old, by working summers as a site laborer. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, and has worked as a carpenter, project manager, new home salesperson, and vice president for a Canadian-based home builder. 

Tim provides customer experience expertise to help businesses increase sales, improve profits and enhance their brands. Creating a brand that is worthy of trust takes the courage to be authentic and transparent. The fear of being seen as imperfect must be replaced with a passion for being seen as real. He believes that customer satisfaction needs to be much more than a marketing tagline in business. It needs to be a commitment to continual improvement in people, products, and processes. We live in a world of big data, but data alone is just a starting point. Turning data into meaningful, actionable insight is essential.



Greg Bray: hello, everybody. And welcome to today's episode of the Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast. I'm Greg Bray with Blue Tangerine and

Kevin Weitzel:  I'm Kevin Weitzel with Outhouse 

Greg Bray: And we are excited today to welcome to the show. Tim Bailey the chief strategy officer at Avid Ratings.

Welcome Tim. Thanks for joining us. 

Tim Bailey: Thanks for having me here today. 

Greg Bray: So Tim, for those who haven't had a chance to meet you yet, why don't you give us that quick introduction? Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

Tim Bailey: For sure. So, uh, yeah, I am, as you mentioned, chief strategy officer at Avid Ratings, but [00:01:00] I would say I basically grew up in the housing industry.

My father was a project manager and a carpenter, and I think, I, I think I learned to use power tools before I learned to ride a bike. Like this is what I've figured out. Started at 15 years old working on construction sites, he wouldn't let me slack off in the summers. He told me to get in the truck and get to work.

So I started and it was, it was wonderful. It helped me pay my way through my high school and university years. And I've had the privilege to work in different areas of the industry. So I've worked in, you know, for a building product manufacturer. I've worked with, actually new home sales for a little bit, which was a lot of fun.

And then before joining Avid, I was vice-president for a builder outside of Toronto, Ontario. now I've been with Avid, it's actually 12 years just about last week. So it's the time flies when you're having fun. But I joined Avid Ratings 12 years ago and spent a lot of my time working with builders across US and Canada, really trying to help them leverage customer experience data, put it into actionable insights to really drive improvement that organization.

So [00:02:00] it's always changing field and pretty exciting. 

Greg Bray: So, which part of the construction process do you feel like is your, is your sweet spot? You know, is it, what the hammer in your hand or the sale? Where do you feel that you're your strongest? 

Tim Bailey: Oh boy, I think I'm too soft for the hammer in the hand for now, after all these years of being an office jockey.

But, I love being, I love being hands-on with things. I really love seeing things happen. Seeing change in the field. So I do, I almost missed that. That's why I'm so connected to that part, but I used to actually love seeing a house go up and, you know, a change by the end of the day, uh, things like that.

You don't always see in an office environment. So I think I got into software. It's hard work construction is not going to work and I have to get in to switch to software. 

Kevin Weitzel: So two questions, one. Do you know, Doug and Bob McKenzie. And two follow up question, I need to know something interesting about you.

Something that nobody will know unless they listen to this podcast.

 Tim Bailey: Oh boy. [00:03:00] Bob and Doug McKenzie. I think I might have the tube. I think it might have the matching to cat there and I don't mind the occasional beer. So I'm almost like related to them. I think that way something that not many people would know, I was thinking, um, We were talking about this at a company meeting recently to share something, you know, try and keep our team engaged virtually right now.

And I was like, you know, I wonder if a lot of people, I love heights and I'm going to blame the building industry on that one too. Cause, um, you know, w back in the day, working on sites, when I in was young and silly, As soon as if it was a commercial site and the structural steel was going up, I'd be the first one running around on those beams and joys and helping to lay out stuff and sliding down a pole and doing all of this stuff that now would be frowned upon today or on residential sites and loved being on the roof and slinging trusses into place and framing out a roof.

And I think it was a, I don't know, just something nice about heights and it's translated into fun things in life, like bungee jumping or jumping off cliffs on vacations and things like that too. So it's a passion for heights. I [00:04:00] don't think many people would. Expect with me. 

Greg Bray: Yeah. That I I'm going to say. That's not my thing. 

Kevin Weitzel: No, I'm scared to death. When I was in the Corps, we always had to do all this stuff where you jumping out of helicopters and everything and. And honestly, the only thing I enjoyed being really high up there was the bungee jumping or not bungee jumping the repelling because it was the fastest way to get back down to the ground.

Tim Bailey: That's true. There's an exit strategy there. 

Greg Bray: Well, Tim, tell us a little bit more about avid ratings and what you guys do and the services you provide. 

Tim Bailey: For sure. Um, yeah. So we're a customer experience company, both platform, I guess, you know, a SAS company, so software as a service, and we were exclusively focused on the building industry, which is something I'm again, I'm pretty passionate about.

And we've been doing, you know, been involved in the industry for almost 30 years. I was looking back at like, oh, it's been 1992 is when we started up, in the industry. And so I've been with avid almost a third of that time, [00:05:00] which was pretty cool. And we really we've got. No both tools and services that are designed to help builders kind of like spot early warning signs for, I'd say, potential brand crises today, to help them improve their processes, their people, their products.

And it's multifaceted. We do that through our survey programs. That's kind of a foundational piece. And so we have trade surveys, employee surveys, customer experience surveys, but then taking that and being able to compare the results against industry benchmarking to get in there and like dig into that data and analyze it.

And that's where I get super nerdy and put my data hat on to really turn that into pro you know, insights that can help. Again, a builder manage their brands, promote their brands. A lot of what we do today, really it gets into the marketing realm. It used to be an internal service to help builders improve.

Now it's like taking that information we're gathering and help them leverage it to promote market their brands. 

Greg Bray: So you guys learn a lot about what the customer's thinking is it the heart of what's going on there 

Tim Bailey: a hundred percent, a hundred percent and, kind of that [00:06:00] real time, or as close to real time feedback as you can get.

So you can, again, adjust, you know, every customer today is different and they're all expecting a very personalized experience. So to be able to. The most overused word since COVID broke out pivot, but being able to be able to adjust and pivot through the journey to make sure that it stays on the rails.

So having that data to make those decisions is so critical today. 

Kevin Weitzel: Uh, I have a question for you. So when you have, when you're looking at, when you say that the customer has shifted and stuff, but so has language linguistics and expectations, especially when you look at different. Age brackets. Do you find that the rules change when the market that you're serving is active adult versus being a millennial?

You know what those expectations are? 

Tim Bailey: Yeah. And I think it's so hard to even, to break it even down into. Cohorts anymore today. I think all of us expect to be treated so personal. We can still make these, you know, buckets of cohorts or groups, or, you know, we're targeting millennials, we're [00:07:00] targeting active adults, you know, whatever it might be.

Um, there's a lot more chatter going on about like the idea of value graphics now, though, too, like, what do these consumers value? That's probably a more targetable than, you know, the age group. You might have a millennial. Uh, that thinks like a gen X or you might have an outer lifestyle person that thinks like a millennial.

So, because it comes down to what people value and the messages we serve up, have to be really personalized to that. I think today to communicate with them and the channels, uh, I prefer to be texted, but yet not at the, well, I'm older than a millennial. I'm a gen X-er, but you know, if you want to get ahold of me, texts works the best.

Versus email or things like that. So just, I think it's really knowing your audience, I guess, ultimately,

Kevin Weitzel: and kind of follow up to that. And this, this is predicated with, uh, just a brief little story. When you say that, you know, people, everybody wants to be treated personally and, you know, have that personal experience when the retail world has moved away from the personal experience.

[00:08:00] Uh, do you think that that's necessarily true because everybody just wants it quick, fast instantaneous at their fingertips. And almost like, and we, we say that we value the customer service, but in all reality, if we can save 5 cents and buy it online and have delivered to your door, that convenience beats out the customer experience.

So does that still hold true in the home home building industry? 

Tim Bailey: Oh, man, that gets into such an interesting area too, because I think consumers today are, there's just such a, this is a culmination of so many different economic factors that have sort of. Descended on all at once on today's consumers. I think we live in this, you know, if you're talking about the delivery economy.

So, you know, if it's a simple, easy purchase, I want it on demand and in my cart and on my doorstep, you know, click, click, click it's through. but it's still going to be served up and wrapped up in a customer experience. That's pleasurable to me, the consumer, I mean, and you know, The door dash is the, Amazon's the Instacart.

If they, if they mess up, you know, I'm going to want retribution somehow. Um, [00:09:00] but also I think with the home building market as well, you know, it's, it's a different journey. It's the longest, typically the longest customer journey a person's going to go through. It's usually the largest purchase they're going to make in their life.

So this idea of still expecting personalization and you have to know me as a consumer. And again, value match with me, I think is probably a little bit more prevalent and in home building that is if you're just buying an online widget. 

Greg Bray: So Tim, when, when you look at those things, expectations, I mean, are they the same as they've always been her or have they dramatically changed?

I know COVID has had some impact on, on everything over the last couple of years, but, but even before that were you seeing trends and changes happening that have just accelerated or is it we've always wanted it this way? 

Tim Bailey: I think it's consumers every day. I think COVID has definitely made some dramatic shifts in the past, you know, 12 to 14 months of how consumers are interacting with brands today.

Um, but I, [00:10:00] I think, again, this culmination of, you know, my experience, the experience you have with how you're served, uh, you know, via Amazon or a door dash or an Uber, this again, that delivery economy, the on demand economy that sets the bar in my brain of how things can be delivered. So then you have this sort of, I would call it a connection economy.

Uh, you know, I've got a device in my pocket and if I have a bad service experience, I can tweet out with a mention, you know, how long do I expect to wait before I get a response back for a brand that impacts, you know, what I expect from brands now as well? No. And also then just how my vacation was at Disney or how I'm treated or ordering a latte from Starbucks or how I was treated at a four seasons or, you know, a great hotel that culminates in there.

My brain too. And I think as consumers, we kind of mesh that all together and then we say, okay, well, other brands can do that. My home builder better be able to as well. Cause this is the biggest purchase of my life. So it's a, I think that's always the changing consumer that we're dancing with right now.

And then again, you, you push that all [00:11:00] online. Now, more, more of the early stages. And even to the mid stage of the journey is happening online now. And that inspiration and discovery is online for sure. You know, COVID pushed even more of that journey to the digital world. So I, you know, how do we interact that way?

I think that's the expectations are changing a ton over the past 14 months. 

Greg Bray: So when you take that kind of expectation of. All, these experiences and our desire and ability to share those with our friends. Right. And so, so quickly and easily now. Right? It's it's not just that I went and bought this thing, but I told the whole world about it because I took a picture of myself when I posted it.

And I did all these things, you know, and, some of these pictures are fun and some of them, like, why are you sharing that with the world? I don't understand, but it's, but, there's this incredible speed at which people can share. And, and how does that now impact. You know, we can stick with builders that probably applies to everybody, but from a customer service standpoint, the [00:12:00] fact that they can tell everybody instantly what's going on, you know, how careful do we need to be, I guess, or how do we need to change our service plans and policies because of that?

Tim Bailey: Yeah, it is a wired and beautiful world or any wired and dangerous world, I guess, depending on which side of the equation, you know, a builder falls on a brand falls on, um, I love it. I think it's great. I think it's an empowered consumer today. So, but I also see on the other side of it, putting my business hat on how it's probably more challenging than ever before, because we have to be so proactive.

We used to be able to create our own brand and presence. You know, some, a big chunk of that is at the mercy of our customers and how to go. Right. So it used to be, you could put on a lot of beautiful collateral material, like beautiful website and things like that. You know, a lot of that can get negated if you've got a lot of bad customer experiences showing up online.

And so some stuff, I mean, it depends on the study you read, but like it's over 80% for sure. If consumers are now reading online reviews [00:13:00] from local businesses. And I don't care if you're a small custom builder doing four homes a year, or you're a, multi-divisional publicly traded builder to the consumer.

You're still really a local business. So people aren't going to do their homework, do their research and read. Other customer's experiences. And I think because it's such a connected world today, the exponential impact for good or evil of today's customers, uh, it's pretty dramatic. I mean, we had a slide when I joined avid, this is dating myself too.

We had a slide which we'd have in our pitch decks. That said if one unhappy, if he had one on a happy homeowner, they would typically tell, you know, 11 in their circle of influence people. They can spread that word. And then those 11 might go on to tell five more. So, you know, the ratio worked out to like one, not happy.

Homeowner could tell 67 people or impact 67 negative referrals for your brand. Yeah. If you look at social media today, I did some mass for presentation at IBS, uh, last year. And you know, I dug through and I have like 278 friends on Facebook. And if you go [00:14:00] a couple of clicks deep on it, if I share something on Facebook alone, and I've got a bunch of other platforms and I would even say I'm a massively active social media user, but you know, 278 friends on Facebook, if I post something good, bad, or ugly out there, and you get some likes and some shares and some other likes and shares, you get a few layers deep.

No, I can't all of a sudden, an audience of 50, 60,000 people, you know, were, that was never the case 20 years ago for, with, with brands and consumers. So, uh, you know, just again, being able to navigate that, um, I think it's the most awesome thing ever for the progressive companies that are embracing it and proactive with it.

For the ones that aren't there yet. Um, now's the best time to get there. 

Kevin Weitzel: So does the highly unsophisticated one out of every hundred, a one to a hundred ratio, one good customer equals a or no one bad customer equals a hundred good customers or is that in it's just like locally. It was, but hello.

We'll listen, there we go. I'll just set it right. Uh, you [00:15:00] know, it's one of those things. Where does that still apply? 

Tim Bailey: Um, I think, well, I always find it in the housing industry. I've always said there's usually about that 1% of customers that are going to be unhappy. Does I think maybe 1% of our population.

It's just programmed, you know, hard coded that way. I think the reach of the unhappy customers is broader than ever before. So I think that, yeah, it's all this old math got blown up in my opinion, from what we see online, how our brand can be taken down. I mean, I often use the example of a fellow Canadian, Dave Carroll, you know, the guy that posted the United breaks guitars, YouTube video.

No. So we had a bad experience with United airlines. They broke us several thousand dollars Taylor guitar in transit to one of his games in the US and he couldn't get through the United airlines, you know, service channels. How do we want it to? So he said, mom, I mean, it's a Chanel post to video to record a YouTube video.

And, you know, as that was going viral, the share value of United airlines was dropping dramatically. And this is again, one guy [00:16:00] from originally Northern Ontario, Canada that had a guitar and, you know, The power of the internet. So I think to math has really blown up when it comes to the power of consumers and how we have to navigate this 

Greg Bray: now, and would you say it's also true though that the person who's angry has a much greater motivation to make all that happen than the, than the happy customer? The happy customer may not have, you know, Pushed through quite as hard to make that message in that type of scenario. So it's, I don't know.

There's just this extra motivation that comes when we want to. Yeah. 

Tim Bailey: You have good personal vendetta. And that's always been the case. I mean, we've seen that. Now it's just magnified. I think we've always seen that, that the happy customers are, tend to sit on their hands a little bit more down happy ones will, will, you know, their arms more quickly to, to get up there and make their point.

No, and I think that's why it's so important though, today that. Brands, you know, builders, [00:17:00] businesses get proactive and try and harvest referrals, good, online reviews, things like that, and promote that stuff and try and get that quiver built up of the good stuff. So that you're buffered. If there is some negative stuff that does, it's gonna flow through it, you're gonna get some negative stuff.

It's actually good to have some negative stuff, but you want to have a lot of good fodder built up. So it buffers that they always, There was some quotes that the best place to hide it, dead body as the third page of Google push sending content down. Right. 

Kevin Weitzel: Exactly. I told dates my entire life, you know, there's some good to some negative things, you know?

So I agree with what you're saying. They didn't, but you know, but you know,

Tim Bailey:  principal and principle, you can't disagree, 

Kevin Weitzel: but how many years going back to the guitar? How many thousands, if not tens of thousands of guitars made it completely safely to their destination on United

Tim Bailey: right? A hundred percent, right? Yeah. That's one, one bad situation.

Not handled. Yeah, [00:18:00] well, and that's again, why we've got. We got to have our games so polished as businesses today because this is, this is always looming and we there's instances every, you know, we hear them. Those are the big ones that you hear about they're happening all the time with brands.

So on smaller scales, but you know, you hear the bank ones. Like there was, you know, Heather Armstrong that took down a tag, you know, she had a bad experience with a washer dryer. And so, you know, she couldn't get anywhere. She ended making the New York times cause she's got a million followers on a blog.

That, you know, they didn't know about. So you get these like, experiences that, you know, become the, the typical stories of how our brand is at risk, but does, you know, every day there's small scenarios like that as well. 

Greg Bray: I think, you know, too, when. Sometimes with the internet builders, don't always recognize the potential buyer who did not call because they saw something out there.

You know, we hear about the ones that complain and we, you know, whatever, but, that [00:19:00] customer who's in that early research phase is, is just doing some Google searches on the company name and finds a few things out there and moves on to the next. Builder instead, they never call. You don't know that it even happens.

You don't really have a way to measure that because you've had no real contact with them. I, any thoughts on that, Tim? 

Tim Bailey: No, a hundred percent. I think that's the danger we face today too. When we look, try and look at sales metrics and all the analytics and things like that as well. You don't know how many disengage it used to be.

You'd have your, again, dating myself to your exit survey, Adam model home. You know, they came to our sales center, they didn't buy, we're going to do a loss prospect survey, collect some data on that. We don't get, not getting the bodies coming in. They're doing their research, their discovery stage online.

And they're, you know, I think back in the day we used to, when I was selling new homes, we took a lot of pride in saying, you know, we, we qualify our buyers, there's this, you know, they're qualified to, for our product, you know, really well now the buyer's disqualify, you know, long [00:20:00] before they set foot, because they're doing all those sort of in that, in that digital world.

Greg Bray: So assuming now that we, we look at, okay, we've got this, this customer they've, they've made the purchase or done the contract for, and now of course, with home building different from so many other products. Now there's this time that goes into, the whole process, right? Where there's so many opportunities for things to go back, you know, or, or this time.

And, and I heard a presentation. You did where you talked about this. Inoculation strategy. And I don't know if you coined that term or if that's something that you got somewhere else, but, I, that really resonated with me. And I'd love to have you explain that a little bit more, um, to, to our folks here.

Cause I thought that was great 

Tim Bailey: and I'm not sure we've used it for quite a few years. Like I'd like to say we own it, but I'm going to be that risky and say, we, we. Trademark that term. I, you know, I think it's so cool. This idea of inoculation, it really is just like, it's a communication technique.

Right? And so the idea of, you know, it's all about setting expectations [00:21:00] and, you know, creating the proper expat expectations through those long journey. I think the beauty of the home building journey is. It's long because that, that could be a lot more chance to recover too. So we often look at it like as long as you can screw it up, there's also, it's a long journey.

So you have a lot of time to manage expectations, set expectations, re correct at any misalignment. And this idea of inoculation is really, I mean, it's such a medical example, but you know, If you look at, you know, the flu is probably the best analogy, people getting their flu shots, I guess, you know, COVID in the past 14 months, but this idea of like in the, in that vial and in that shot is usually a dose of the disease, right?

It's this idea of you're giving a dose of the disease to ward off a full flu outbreak. Well, it's the same idea with communication strategies here is like, if we know there are symptomatic pain points in the home buyer journey and there are, and being in this for far too long, know the industry for far too long, you know, I know there's certain things that are going to be symptomatically problematic.

[00:22:00] So if I know that, why didn't I start to, you know, through the journey, give. These home buyers, a little dose of that disease, a dose of reality, or a dose of the real deal, real news. So that way, if that does occur in their experience, they've already got their immunity built up a little bit. So, you know, as they journey along and they drive by.

You know, they're home and it's a unsane Ontario day in Toronto and it's, you know, 80% humidity and 32 degrees Celsius. So a hundred degrees Fahrenheit, and it's gross out and it's thunder starving and they see all their lumber sitting out there and it's soaking wet. Well, we talked to them about how we dry out a host and check moisture and humidity levels before we install the hardwood.

You know, things like that. So you start to alleviate some of their concerns so that at the end of the day, you know, you're, you're getting, they've got their flu shots, so they don't get this dissatisfaction outbreak later, but. Know, I guess having said that inoculation is strategic enough to that. You have to know the steps to do it.

You can't just scare the crap out of them, 

Greg Bray: by the way, this is going to be terrible. It's going to be awful and it's going to go totally [00:23:00] wrong. So just expect it. And then you won't be mad about it, right? That's not quite what we're saying. 

Tim Bailey: Thanks for signing. Signing here, pressing her and making three copies.

And now we've got you. It's really about being proactive with it. Knowing what pain points there are. Now owning it, you know, taking ownership, but then also wrapping it up in a resolution as well. So you can't just leave it hanging. It's like, but you know, we're, we're their trusted advisors to the builders.

So this is how we handled it. This is the plan. So again, then when they, you know, this does happen in their experience like, oh no, okay. I get it. I don't love it. But you know, they told me about this and it's really, to me, it's, it's just building up a trust factor. And I think trust is what drives sales. So that's and drives inevitably, it's going to drive customer loyalty or customer advocacy.

Kevin Weitzel: So now you're consulting with builders on obviously regular basis. That's your, that's your business. And, you know, you're, you have a litmus, you have almost a ranking, if you will, uh, where you've  got a lot of builders that perform at that upper level. If you want to name a few that are just like, [00:24:00] wow.

Factor. That's great. And if you want to call it the one where you just wanted to grab them by the shoulders, shake them, like, man, just go. How are you still in business? Holy crap, man. Know, if you don't, you don't have to mention that one, but I guarantee you there's at least one in there where you're like, man, I don't need not in a business, but do you have a couple of shining stars out there?

Any anybody that's doing it? So right. That it's like, wow, they are doing everything that they can.

Tim Bailey:  Oh man. I would, you know, I always think the best references are on our website. We have our avid awards page and we recently gave out our avid awards and, you know, that's for the top performing builders by region when it comes to customer experience.

And, but the unique thing and what we tell a lot of our clients is, you know, the game changes every year. You know, we see some repeaters, I guess, in the market, uh, that have a dialed in and things like that. But you know, every community they launch and every, you know, Demographic group, they sell to every, whatever it might be, that theirs is different.

They might be delays. They might now there might be material shortages. So, you know, [00:25:00] as much as I've seen builders, being our Abbott awards, winning our diamond award and literally three years later be bottom of the pack. Like somehow took their foot off the gas or just had a bad set of scenarios and circumstances I crept in.

 I, a hundred percent seem developers. Very, I just kind of do want to grab them and shake them and say, come on guys, just like you guys and girls here. Let's just some foundational pieces. Let's start there. 

Kevin Weitzel: So, what is this highest award? 

Tim Bailey: Is it the diamond award? Yeah we have our, I have a diamond award is the, yeah.

The highest in customer experience. And we actually do our Avid cup. And the only difference with that one is it's across multiple survey touchpoints. So the highest performing builders across a few different survey touch points versus just a moving survey. Uh, so that was sort of the coveted Avid cup.

And, and that's sort of the sustained loyalty as well. Like how is this customer move in, but how they also voted a year after they lived in the house, when the newest off the then. Is it, is it a fence? I can check it out today. There's a fence. 

Greg Bray: Is it a physical cup Tim? Like[00:26:00] was the Stanley cup. It was 

Tim Bailey: like a stent, like a super bowl could tell you, ironically, we never got it back from one of our 20th.

Recently I get a ship back and then ship it up to the next once a year. And somehow got lost in the. In the customer journey.  

Greg Bray: Okay. So now they just get coffee mugs. Okay. Let's see. Okay.

So Tim, when you look at the industry as a whole, I mean, you've got these top performers, but just in general, how are builders doing kind of with this customer service and kind of this reputation management? I mean, are we doing okay as an industry? Are we really missing it? And there's a huge opportunity that just kind of on average, what are your thoughts?

Tim Bailey:  it's that one, two's a little bit all over the map. We work with some builders that are super progressive. I had a meeting to speak where they've, you know, they're, they're hiring a couple more team members. That's just, you know, all about their reputation management program, responding to reviews and things like that.

And then, I'll chat with other [00:27:00] builders where they really don't even look at what those being said about the monolines. I, my gut is. It would be more of a laggard. We'd be a little bit more of a laggard industry when it comes to reputation management. I don't want to paint everybody with that brush because there are some that are super progressive out there.

Um, but I think we are kind of playing catch up versus some other industries when it comes to this idea of embracing. This new connected world, this idea of reputation management, joining the conversations online. So I think that's something we got a bit of catch up to do if it was going to look at the industry as a whole, which is cool, because that means there's a ton of opportunity for brands to differentiate.

Like again, builders, aren't competing against auto you're competing against your peers and home building. So, you know, if your peers aren't doing some of the things progressively enough, you can jump ahead of the game by getting there first. But yeah, I think it's got some. Definite room for improvement.

Greg Bray: Right. I want to improve. I'm a builder. I haven't really been doing this. I sort of understand what you're saying. You know, I got [00:28:00] it. Where do I start? What, what do they do first besides call you? 

Tim Bailey: I think the first step ends up being a shift in mindset. I, you know, it's not even, it's not even. Technical thing. It's not even a software thing or a marketing thing. I think it's a mindset shift that's got to, from what I had been seeing and feeling and hearing, we, as an industry, we've always done a great job.

Again, I mentioned before putting out like great marketing materials, glossy collateral, beautiful websites, spectacular model homes and design centers and on and on and on we're, you know, a Photoshop wonder. Um, so changing that mindset to show that we can actually be imperfect a little bit. It's got to start there because unless you get that mindset in your culture and the company.

Um, this is almost too much hubris or pride too, to allow yourself to get into the reputation management world. Cause it can be really humbling. I think I was reading this [00:29:00] article, Japanese aesthetic. They call it Wabi Sabi and it's really it's acceptance of perfection, which I thought was super cool because it was like, you know what we're so photo-shopped, but yet there's, there's actually a, an aesthetic out there that highlights.

You know, the Tina or the imperfections instead of like crazy glowing, you drop a piece of China on the floor. And instead of like trying to crazy, glue it back together as it's perfectly invisible and you don't see it as, you know, they would Guild that, you know, that would be highlighted as part of the experience.

So this idea of, you know, embracing the mind so that we don't have to be perfect, we just have to be real. And then from there starting to take those steps, you know, what's being said about your brand online. It's just a good starting point. Then once you've got that figured out and, you know, start to assess it.

How do you, how do you join the conversations? How do you start to respond to some of these online reviews and engage, uh, and start? Cause that's how you start to tell your story and that's again, what every brand's about, you know, what's your story. That's what connects with consumers.

[00:30:00] Greg Bray: I mean, I do, I do have to say that that the best way to avoid having to deal with bad reviews is to actually have happy customers who don't leave bedrooms.

So, you know, by working on that experience, especially kind of at that. You know, closing warranty, you know, stage where I think, I dunno when you have an issue and you resolve it, I think people are happy. They just want to fix right. They just want to fit it's when you don't respond, it's when they don't know what's happening and they don't know how to connect with you, that they get the frustration, at least in, yeah.

My opinion, you know, you're the survey guide though. So, but, that's where I think where it goes wrong.

Tim Bailey:  So true. I mean, I think it comes back. We often see, we talked about the three C's, uh, you know, there's like communication and caring and confidence and they think there's a little triad that goes together.

So if you're not communicating, they're not going to feel cared about then undergo, then they're gonna lose confidence or conversely, you know, and for communicating, they're going to build a confidence out. They're going to feel cared about that's the winning formula. When you start getting into that [00:31:00] realm.

Um, but the lack of a communication strategy is just the recipe for disaster. Then there's going to be a sense of abandonment. Uh, if I feel abandoned, I'm going to be hyper sensitive to anything after that. And then if you dropped the ball a couple of times, I've lost patients and then I'm taking my phone out of my pocket and trying one of the different social media apps on my phone to get some resolve or, or build a vendetta.

Greg Bray: So Tim, we really appreciate you spending so much time with us today. Uh, and it's been I think it's been a great conversation. Um, any last pieces of advice that you'd like to leave with our audience today about, how they can do this better. 

Tim Bailey: Um, I think there's a couple things. There's a book I read a couple of years back, but I use it.

I use the quote. It's not mine, but it's a built answer, wrote a book called everyone's a critic. And to paraphrase, he had a quote that basically said, you know, this is the first time in business history history that the aggregate opinions of [00:32:00] consumers can now really beat our marketing or advertising and our brand spend.

So I always think that's so important for companies to keep in mind today, as we can, again, lower brains on all those, the best marketing materials at the end of the day. If we, if someone goes online and sees a whole bunch of bad reviews, uh it's it's going to. It's going to basically beat that up on us, but that combined with the fact as well, you know, I think today it's more important to be real than it is to be perfect.

That's maybe back to that wabi-sabi principle or aesthetic, but this idea that, you know, it has shows in review, you know, even in the online review world, it shows that perfection decreases conversion. So we don't have to be perfect. A few negative reviews. Actually. I only look at negative reviews as a consumer.

I want to, I spend a lot of time and usually if the negative reviews are actually often what sells me. On a product or a company or a brand. So having a few online beauty marks today is fine. You can't have too many, but, uh, you know, again, that idea of being real versus being perfect is something I'd like to, for sure [00:33:00] try and get across to them.

The message for the world, just a gut feeling. 

Kevin Weitzel: What percentage of five star reviews are cousins and best friends and pals of the company.

Tim Bailey:  Right. And it's gotta be most, I think, and those studies have been done. Like they say, once you get above a 4.7, like a four, seven to a 5.0, actually decrease the sales conversion on a product.

So you want to be in that spot where you're not terrible. You want to be a four, two to a four or seven range, right? Where you're, you're believable. You're real, but you, you know, you've got it. You might have, again, a few online beauty marks where people are like, oh, okay. That's not just all staged. 

Greg Bray: Well, and I think, especially when the review is, Hey, it didn't work right.

But then they fixed it, you know, or whatever. That's all 

Tim Bailey: I look for. Yeah. Between TripAdvisor and Amazon, everything else. I just want to see, you know, a company that stands. Behind, you know, a presentation. I went to that it was for an airline that said, or, you know, when they first came out of the gate while they said two things, they [00:34:00] said, if you want to learn how to be a millionaire, you start an airline with 5 million.

Can you become a millionaire pretty quickly? But the second thing was you, we tried to build a culture on this idea of like, instead of hiding behind her. Policies as we tried to stand up for our promises, that's all I want. My brand is like, you know, keep your promises. I don't expect you to be perfect, just, you know, and I don't expect your reviews to be perfect.

Just show me that you care, you get it, you stand up for what you say you're going to do. 

Greg Bray: No great advice. Great advice. Thanks Tim. Well, if someone wants to learn more about Avid Ratings or connect with you, what's the best way for them to get in touch?

Tim Bailey:  Well, I am always a text, email or a phone call away.

But yeah, our website is www.avidratings.com. Or you can reach me @tim.baileyatavidratings.com. Or can I put me on LinkedIn messaged me there and we can share some great ideas there as well, but easy to get ahold of love to chat about customer experience in our industry and reputation management.

Greg Bray: Well, thank you Tim so much for your time today and thank you [00:35:00] everybody for listening to the Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast. I'm Greg Bray with Blue Tangerine

Kevin Weitzel:  I'm Kevin Weitzel with Outhouse. Thank you. 

Thank you.

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