Builder Interview: Discover the Value of a Digital Design Center

As more consumers are getting comfortable with the convenience of touch screens and drag-and-drop capabilities, the pressure is on home builders to find innovative ways to leverage technology to enhance customer experience of the décor appointment and beyond.

OPUS Homes has recently used a new digital experience to appeal to current customers by creating more efficient appointments. Instead of printed catalogues, tablets are used around the décor studio where homeowners are guided through the entire product library through the design agent portal. Prior to the appointment, customers have the opportunity to access the online portal to view options of available finishes and 'wish list' items can be saved in advance to be discussed in the design studio.

We spoke with OPUS Homes’ Décor Studio Manager, Kim Bianchi, to uncover the value of an integrated design center solution and how customers are responding to the new appointment experience. Find out how technological advances in the décor studio industry can help you better support client decision making, enhance client knowledge, and cut preparation time in half.

Kim Bianchi has been in the design and home building industry for twelve years where she’s been involved in multiple operational functions within the home building process and now oversees design at OPUS Homes

What were some challenges you faced when conducting design studio appointments in the past?

The biggest challenge was finding the time to complete all the preparation work. I used to spend countless hours ahead of my décor appointments preparing price books. Now with new technology updates, I’m able to cut this time in half and my clients are able to view the products and pricing in our libraries prior to the appointment. It’s helping to provide a more efficient appointment experience overall.

Additionally, we have limited space in our studio to show everything that we offer our clients. In most cases if I don’t have a live template in front of me I would need to jump online or source an image and pull up the specifications. Technology such as Design Studio Manager made it easier to sell to my clients by allowing me to pre-populate all of our products with images and product specifications and any additional information that would help educate them. It certainly helps having all this information in front of the client during the appointment.


How did you provide information to your customers in the past?

I used to print out catalogues for my clients and I found it had too many limitations. Today, I’m able to send my clients a link that allows them to basically view everything from bundle packages to promotions in real time. Everything is now at their fingertips and they have direct access to it.


How has the Design Studio Management implementation process (often referred to as workshops) helped to improve your overall strategy?

Absolutely. The workshops helped us fine-tune our process even more. During the workshop we spent some time fine tuning our product library and making sure we were utilizing all of the features provided. I discovered features I didn’t even know existed such as attributes. On the portal side of things, even though we had a process in place, it made us stop to consider if we could do things more efficiently.


How does new technology influence the appointment process?

New technology has helped improve our efficiencies. As we are going through our appointments, we’re actually physically checking off what we’ve completed which allows our clients to make a decision on the spot and move forward.

Since everything is done on the screen, there’s really no need to go back to review certain items because it’s straightforward and methodical. By being able to show them the images and specs on the screen, decision making time has decreased and clients are able to move a lot quicker through the appointment process.


How are customers responding to the Wish List Portal?

Customers are really impressed we’re using this type of technology. They found it helps them make decisions ahead of time and are more comfortable with the entire process. We typically send the wish list out to clients before the appointment and we find they come in with a better understanding of what their budget is and what items they want to move forward with.

Find out how to transform your design center today.


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