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TheStreet Open House

PulteGroup Adds Live Chat To Assist On-line Consumers Searching For A New Home

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich., Sept. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- PulteGroup, Inc. (NYSE: PHM) is making it easier for homebuyers who love the immediacy and convenience of online chat to shop for a new home.  The homebuilder has placed live chat on its Pulte Homes, Centex, Del Webb and DiVosta websites, adding another interactive tool for homebuyers.

After a successful pilot on Pulte.com increased contacts by 25 percent, PulteGroup has now placed the Contact At Once! live chat technology on all its consumer websites, said Julie Mynster, director of consumer engagement for PulteGroup.

"Live chat is paying dividends for us in multiple ways," Mynster said.  "We're generating additional leads, but we also believe the option will appeal to those shoppers who might be reluctant to reach out by phone or email.  Through live chat we can actively engage consumers earlier in the sales process and assist those homebuyers who want more immediate answers and information."

While live chat has played a role on consumer-facing websites for years, the technology is innovative in the homebuilding industry space, said John Hanger, Contact At Once! President and CEO. 

"PulteGroup is definitely leading the charge with homebuilders by offering live chat across the board on a national level," Hanger said. "They will have a competitive advantage now that online shoppers are able to chat from their websites."

The live chat makes it easier than ever for online real estate shoppers to connect and schedule appointments in real-time, said Damon Henry with Shift Digital, which manages the program for PulteGroup with a team of trained real estate chat consultants.  The chat function was identified as an opportunity to increase website engagement and capture leads without cannibalizing leads from other website sources, Henry said.

PulteGroup websites have added a myriad of technology-friendly features in recent months and the company plans to add even more, Mynster said.  In addition to an increase in online video and images, the Pulte.com, Centex.com and DelWebb.com sites feature interactive tools that allow homebuyers to see what lots are available in certain communities; and currently offer 600 interactive floor plans that allow homebuyers to add options and stage furniture in the space. 

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