BLOOMFIELD HILLS — 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 Web sites, adding another interactive tool for homebuyers.

After a successful pilot on 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 Web site engagement and capture leads without cannibalizing leads from other Web sources, Henry said.

PulteGroup Web sites 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, and 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.

PulteGroup Web sites also allow homebuyers to design their dream kitchen with a click of a mouse with its new interactive Kitchen Studio.  Images on allow users to visualize a custom kitchen space by selecting from a variety of colors and finishes — from flooring to wall color.

PulteGroup operates in about 60 markets throughout the country. Through its brand portfolio that includes Centex, Pulte Homes and Del Webb, the company is one of the industry’s most versatile homebuilders able to meet the needs of multiple buyer groups and respond to changing consumer demand.  PulteGroup conducts extensive research to provide homebuyers with innovative solutions and new homes designed for the way people actually live today.  As the most awarded homebuilder in customer satisfaction, PulteGroup brands have consistently ranked among top homebuilders in third-party customer satisfaction studies.

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