By Cheryl Long
While industry and design awards are always gratifying, the accolades that come from customer reviews provide the greatest satisfaction to the team behind Alberta-based Morrison Homes. Positioning itself as “the homebuyer’s best friend”, the company has more than 50 years of experience designing and constructing quality residences in Edmonton and Calgary.
But those multiple awards certainly don’t hurt. The company has been named one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies since 2009 and has received the Canadian Home Builders’ Association’s Builder of the Year award 11 times. The J.D. Power and Associates Builder of Excellence designation, based on research measuring customer experience, recognizes Morrison Homes for providing “an outstanding home ownership experience” for single family homes in Calgary.
“When we win any customer satisfaction award, be it the J.D. Power award or whether it’s a customer satisfaction award through the local newspaper, to us that’s more meaningful because it says we’re doing the right thing and we’re doing what we said we would do for our customers,” said Sam Hudson, Marketing Director for Morrison Homes.
Building quality homes since 1961
That commitment to customer satisfaction goes back decades to the company’s founding in 1961 by Frank Morrison. A cabinetmaker and carpenter by trade, Morrison launched the business from his home with his wife, Irene, and built a reputation based on honesty, expert craftsmanship and a personal touch. Frank’s son, Al, took over the family business in 1983 and continued the company’s growth, seeing it transition from a few homes built annually to several hundred constructed throughout communities in both cities.
Today, Morrison Homes prides itself on offering “more” to its customers, ranging from home design and floor plan options to open communication throughout the building process and a strong commitment to post-sale service. In fact, the homebuilder is one of the founding members of the Alberta New Homes Warranty Program and remains a passionate advocate of new homebuyer rights and protection.
As a long-time member of the construction industry, the company has seen the evolution of the Edmonton and Calgary home markets. Despite the fluctuations experienced over the years, Western Canada’s economy is a strong one and continues to support a housing market that remains one of the most prolific in Canada, outperforming most major centres, Hudson explained.
“Alberta is a very attractive place to live,” he added. “It draws a lot of incoming residents from all over the country and from the world. Obviously our economy is very robust and while there are some ebbs and flows, it still is a strong economy with a lot of resilience and there’s a strong entrepreneurial spirit too.”
Morrison Homes has played a role in the development of several communities throughout both locations, working alongside other builders and developer partners to shape the cities and their neighbourhoods. The launch of a new community and new building opportunities still creates a stir, he said.
Design showroom offers array of choices
Whether they’re marketing a collection of townhomes or walking clients through the design of a luxury estate, the process is a similar one. It begins with an array of floor plan options created to meet the homeowner’s lifestyle needs and then moves on to a one-stop design experience conducted in the company’s showroom. Consultants guide buyers through the selection of their interior finishings, helping them choose the colours and fixtures that result in a unique look reflecting the homeowner’s personal style.
Morrison Homes was recently named “Best of Houzz” for design by the online home remodeling and design platform. Visited by more than 25 million users each month, Houzz is considered one of the premier online communities for residential design. The “Best of” awards are based on the recommendations of homeowners and design enthusiasts who use the tool to help remodel and decorate their own homes.
Customer feedback is crucial to the ongoing success of Morrison Homes, Hudson explained. They make it a priority to listen to what homebuyers are saying, surveying levels of satisfaction and collecting feedback on a regular basis. Staying competitive in terms of design choices and specifications is also key. Buyers need to see value in their purchase while being able to include the features in their homes that they consider important. To some, that means incorporating environmentally friendly options in their designs and many of the products Morrison Homes uses provide more of those benefits than ever before, Hudson said.
“From the high efficiency furnaces to other flooring products that are more environmentally friendly, we seek out those products to ensure that we leave as light an environmental footprint as possible,” he explained.
Striving to be the homebuyer’s best friend
Morrison Homes takes its reputation seriously, striving to ensure that the level of passion and quality is evident in everything they do. “Truthful” advertising and branding are the cornerstones of the company’s marketing efforts. “Our brand position is kind of encapsulated with the tagline ‘homebuyer’s best friend’. That wasn’t developed superficially; we really did take a very hard look at ourselves and also what customers were looking for and expressed our brand communications on those truths,” Hudson said.
Being among the Canada’s Best Managed crowd also offers a level of credibility, engendering a sense of trust not only among their customers and partners but also prospective employees. “It points to the fact that our position in the market is strong and it’s strong for a reason; that we show dedication to our customers and to the product that we’re offering and that we have a clear vision of where we’re going into the future.”
Right now, planning for the future means keeping a close eye on the markets as they shift in response to recent economic changes. For Morrison Homes, that level of unpredictability means that they’ll stay committed to their philosophy of quality and customer satisfaction while only considering growth opportunities that are in the best interest of the company and their homebuyers, Hudson said.
“We don’t want to outgrow our ability to service our customers and that’s been an important mandate for us as we grow in Edmonton,” he said. “We had a lot of opportunity to take on new land and to build in new communities but we decided to take a more measured approach so that we can focus on doing a good job for our customers.”
“We don’t want to sacrifice the quality of experience or the product that we build for our customers in the name of growth, especially now in the digital age where transparency is everything. It’s important that we stay true to our core values.”
To learn more about Morrison Homes, visit www.morrisonhomes.ca.