Customers can be turned off by time-consuming or complicated surveys...
...but the Customer Satisfaction Measurement provided by In-house is very clear and the questionnaires are not too long. I believe that our customers are generally happy to participate and we’re getting a high take-up which is very helpful to us.
Independent feedback is important
CALA has been keen to promote customer service throughout the business for a long time and by continually surveying our customers it allows us to keep close to them because we’re getting independent feedback on their opinions. This is important for us. Surveys carried out internally don’t offer that reflection. Customer service, including this measurement service, is one area we decided not to cut back on during the last couple of years. There has been a lot of focus externally on customer service recently, although the focus has been there within CALA for a long time, and we felt it would be wrong to do anything that might adversely affect customer satisfaction levels.
The measurement promotes high standards for the industry
The measurement enables us to do a comparison against other house builders and promotes high standards for us and the rest of the industry. Employees also like to see how they are performing compared with others within the industry and that is an important motivator and benchmark.
In-house are very customer focussed and responsive
I would recommend In-house because, like us, they are very customer focussed. They speak to their customers to check that what they are doing, or what they are thinking of doing, is acceptable and they’re keen to get feedback on improvements. They’re also very responsive on feedback. We’ve had a long relationship with them, and inevitably there have been one or two ups and downs during that time but I think they’ve handled them extremely professionally and we intend sticking with them.
Moira Sibbald, Legal Counsel and Group Company Secretary,
CALA Group Ltd
We want the highest response rates that we can get to our customer satisfaction surveys and we obviously want accurate results...
...and after visiting In-house and seeing how they carry out the calls I can see that’s what we are getting.
Listening to one of my own customers being interviewed was a great insight
It was amazing to be able to listen live to one of my customers being interviewed because I could see how In-house deal with the questioning and how they question people further according to the response they get. It’s not a case of recording what the customer has said in response to a question, they will ask why the customer feels that way and delve as far as they can before they complete the question. For me, it’s one thing to see the results in black and white on a questionnaire and another to actually hear it being conducted. It was a great insight.
In-house’s efforts to get good response rates were very impressive
I was very impressed with their ability to get good response rates to the surveys and now I understand how they go about making the calls, the number of times they try and at different times of day and I think they absolutely exhaust it to the limit and work very hard on our behalf.
In-house’s professionalism stands out
I was also very impressed to learn about the level of training they go to with their telephone research unit staff. The whole team at In-house are absolutely brilliant and they are obviously very close knit. I would certainly recommend In-house; their professionalism stands out.
Margaret Garbula, Customer Services Manager
It’s great to see our customers’ comments, but I wasn’t sure if the researchers were logging an interpretation of what had been said...
...but after visiting In-house and listening in to a call made to one of our customers I was very pleased to see that the quoted verbatim was actually what the client said. There was no interpretation; it was set down exactly as the clients said it, word for word.
Very professional, upbeat and positive interviewing
The calls were carried out very professionally and the interviewer was very upbeat and positive and asked the right the questions. On occasions where the owner was getting the wrong end of the stick the question would be asked again and occasionally the respondent would correct themselves.
Impartial and independent research gets honest results
I would recommend In-house because they are very impartial and independent. There are no loaded questions and nothing that would favour one builder over another or influence the responses. It is useful to see where our company stands in the national benchmarking tables. But I would say the main benefit to CALA is that somebody else is doing the research and because of this I feel the client will be honest enough to say exactly what they feel. My visit to In-house was very interesting; I enjoyed speaking with the team there.
Gordon Kennedy, Customer Service Manager
CALA Scotland West
On a recent visit to In-house Research and Training I was able to listen to a call being made to a CALA customer...
...and I found the process and the way it was carried out to be very good. The researcher asked clear and concise questions and clarified the question if there was any sort of uncertainty in the customer’s answer.
The measurement is a great opportunity to find out what our purchasers really think
In-house’s Customer Satisfaction Measurement provides us with a great opportunity to find out what our purchasers really think of the property, the development and our processes. The telephone research unit staff give the impression of being very relaxed and easy going, but on the back of that they know how to ask the right questions to find out what we as a business need to know.
The quality of the information stands up on its own
I would have no hesitation in recommending In-house, they fulfil all our requirements and the quality of the information that they provide us with stands up on its own. I think it would be of benefit to any company, and that’s reflected by the wide range of companies that do use their services.
Mike Watkins, Director of Customer Service
We wanted a consistent approach for our demonstrations because some of our teams were doing one thing and some another…
…but because In-house deals with so many developers, they were the right people to approach. We knew they would have all the knowledge and wealth of experience that we needed.
We now have a consistent structure and take control of our demonstrations
We now have a consistent structure and are able to control the demonstrations without the customer wandering off. We can get their attention right at the beginning and talk about key things such as shrinkage and drying out.
Our staff are confident and proud of the product they are demonstrating
Some of our site and sales teams have been in the industry over 30 years and still learnt new things and better ways of giving information to the customer so that they would understand it. It’s also boosted their confidence levels when interacting with customers and made them feel more proud of the product they are demonstrating. Customers are now amazed at the amount of detail we go into during the demonstration and love it.
Customers say it’s informative and our scores have increased
Our scores for demonstrations have increased steadily over the last few years as a result of the training and using a consistent approach. Customers say it’s informative. They know how to operate things in their new home.
I’d definitely recommend this training
It’s been a major plus for us.
Brenda Gilmartin, Head of Customer Service
CALA Homes (East) Ltd
The important thing to note about In-house’s demonstration training is that it is very thorough and very detailed...
...they are incredibly experienced in the industry in terms of training and customer satisfaction surveys and I would say they’re probably one of the best well known for this type of training.
The training provides confidence and a structure to the demonstration
The demonstration training has given the site and the sales team more confidence when looking after clients and it has also given them a proper routine and a structure for the home demonstration which allows them to remain in control. I think this combination results in a better demonstration for the client and a huge benefit of that for us is getting good results in our customer satisfaction surveys.
Improved home demonstrations help with aftercare
Another important point is that showing the client how to make their house function properly helps with the aftercare. If they know how to control the heating and the cooker, for example, they are less likely to call for assistance believing there is a fault when it’s simply a case of not fully understanding how something works. This is a better situation for us and for the client.
In-house’s own high standards of customer service are reflected in the training they deliver
The fact that In-house have high standards of customer service within their own business means that the training they are able to deliver is also of a very high standard, so I would certainly recommend them.
Alison Deakin, Sales and Marketing Director
CALA Homes (South)
It was a challenge to get all the members of various teams together at the same time for training...
...but we managed it by organising staggered sessions and it was certainly worth the effort. Cary’s style of presentation opened up lots of areas for discussion and debate which we found really useful. In addition, Cary followed this up after the training by forwarding additional information to me that we’ll be able to roll out to enhance our procedures.
We now deliver clearer and more consistent demonstrations
The training showed us different ways of putting things across to customers and this has helped us to deliver the demonstrations more clearly and more consistently. It’s vitally important that we are consistent in communicating our message across all sites and I think it also gives our staff more confidence when carrying out the demonstrations.
Seeing things from the customer’s point of view ensures details are not overlooked
Cary talked about the importance of looking at things from our customer’s point of view and this has helped to ensure that we cover details that might otherwise have been overlooked. It’s all too easy to take things for granted because we’re so familiar with our own product, the construction and the external materials for example, and we need to remember that the customers don’t have that same knowledge.
The training contributes to overall customer satisfaction
I would recommend In-house’s Demonstration training because it contributes towards overall satisfaction in the whole of the customer’s journey. Anything we can do to enhance customer satisfaction has got to be a benefit.
Darren Wright, Director of Construction & Customer Services
CALA Homes Midlands
With a lot of training courses the content can be wild and you’re not sure how it will fit in…
…but ‘How to control your Elephant’ came across as realistic and relevant to us and the industry we’re in. For example, ‘the can-can’ element was something I really took away, because it really showed how you can best deal with the whole customer experience and achieving a positive outcome at the end.
The way Malcolm presented the course was excellent
He was very open and he put everyone at ease. His presentation style on the course was very refreshing and it allowed people to come out and get involved even more. He said there were no wrong answers and he wasn’t afraid of having some fun with the members of staff who attended, me included!
I would definitely recommend ‘How to control your Elephant’…
…Because I’m a big fan and I’d recommend it 100% to anyone in any industry. It’s relevant to everyday life and the scenarios were brilliant. No matter how much someone says they know about customer service this course will guarantee they take something new away. I can’t fault anything about the course; the content, the length and the scenarios were all very good.
Brenda Gilmartin, Head of Customer Service
CALA Homes (East)
I was expecting my team to say that customer service training was a waste of time...
...but actually the day exceeded my – and I think their - expectations.
‘How to train your elephant’: what’s that?
It’s easy to be a bit cynical about training. But I would say that the title alone: ‘How to train your elephant’ makes In-house’s customer service training worthwhile. It’s really intriguing, which helps. It makes you think. It gets your imagination running even before it’s started. Initially, no one knew what the elephant and rider was. But as it unfolded it became clear. The clouds parted as it were.
Training that leads to a light bulb moment
There are pages from the manual pinned up against the wall and people’s screens. An especially good bit was when we discussed what we thought ‘elephant’ behaviour and ‘rider’ behaviour was. There were some good discussions about which reactions belonged to which. It was a light bulb moment.
You can clearly see the difference
We were given a scenario at the beginning of the day, then the same scenario later on. Although some guys were a little intimidated initially, there was a clear difference in the answers they gave later on. That was good because it showed that they’d understood the training and embraced it.
I would definitely recommend In-house’s ‘How to train your elephant’ course
I would definitely recommend this course, especially to others in a customer service environment. It’s a really good, simple way of being able to control your emotions and settle down the conversation so that things don’t become too irrational or emotive. It would also be really nice to see others in customer-facing roles, such as construction and sales, have an understanding of what’s involved. Ideally the whole business needs to be focused on the customer, which is why I’d recommend it.
Stewart Ingram, Customer Services Director
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For some of us, to plumb the depths of the human mind and to dissect what people are really thinking is incredibly rewarding. For others, like those who work in marketing or research, who are trying to work out what their customers think of them, it can be a thorn in their side.Read >
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In-house Research and Training Ltd, 24 Borough Fields, Royal Wootton Bassett, Wilts, SN4 7AX
Registered Office: Suite J, First Floor, Market House Business Centre, 2 Marlborough Road, Swindon, Wilts, SN3 1QY | Company No. 03537670. Tel: 01793 848455