November, 2003
From the ASHI President.
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



The Strategy Behind The ASHI Experience

RICHARD C. MATZEN

In April and again in July of 2000, a group of ASHI’s most involved leaders assembled in Chicago for four days of strategic planning. On September 18-20, 2003 another group gathered. ASHI’s experienced and ASHI’s next generation leaders came together to shape the next strategic plan – one that will guide ASHI’s next three years of goal setting.

Perhaps those who were involved in 2000 recall as vividly as I do that after days of dialogue and deliberation, Jean Frankel began to combine our work on the flip charts at the front of the room. We captured our Core Purpose: “To promote exemplary practice in property inspection.”

We captured our Big Audacious Goal: “ASHI will be synonymous with property inspection.”  

We moved on to craft five visions of our future. Number five on that list is most profound: “The ‘ASHI Brand’ inspection is established. (It will no longer be referred to as a ‘home or property inspection,’ but as an ASHI Inspection.)”

Later in the 2000 Strategic Plan, we assigned the Public Relations Committee the responsibility to “Increase awareness of the ‘ASHI Brand Inspection’.” Discussion and planning has continued for the last three years until we are at the eve of our

ASHI Brand rollout.

Early in the planning process leaders recognized that competing inspection organizations and state legislation had provided other credentialing and marketing vehicles that were challenging ASHI as we maintain ourselves at the forefront of the profession. Leadership reasoned that if legislation and competition posed external challenges for ASHI and ASHI members, the value of membership is in decline and early imperatives to join ASHI are diminishing. Leaders further reasoned that if an eventual decline was ignored, ASHI was at risk of fading into the position of a small, elite society without the ability to set standards or lead the profession.

Leaders conceptualized that the solution was to harness ASHI’s status, strengths and assets into an updated vehicle, encompassing our technical excellence with a dynamic image as service providers.

The plan caused ASHI to study the needs of inspectors, the needs of homebuyers and the needs of real estate professionals to be certain that the stakeholders and marketplace would welcome a new ASHI image.

The plan has caused us to look at how we use our staff resources, such that these resources are allotted to activities that most benefit the home inspector. We have looked at communication tools and recognized that the Internet is the vehicle of choice for our Membership. We have recognized the next generation demands an online presence that is capable of attracting and supporting the home purchase decision, as well as the selection of the home inspection experience provider.

We have re-examined the traditional media tools available, and will use these tools aggressively to move ASHI into media we have not yet been able to use. Leadership has revisited our system of chapters, and recognized that our chapters are our greatest asset for education and grass roots contact with the public we serve. Our branding efforts will place the chapters in the forefront of the branding campaign.

Branding will move ASHI into the public eye as ASHI places the home inspector in the Home Depot store to answer questions and be a resource to homeowners improving their homes.

Branding will create an interactive module at ASHI.org to motivate and create brand loyalty as people consider home inspection.

Branding will focus on the needs of Candidates in a way we have not done before. We will shepherd Candidates through the membership by minimizing the elements of the process that obstruct their progress. We will not lower standards, but rather we will improve the Candidate experience within ASHI.

Branding will involve a system to measure customer satisfaction with an after the inspection survey to measure the perceptions of the homebuyer. The data will be used to reward exemplary performance, and to nurture a service attitude that builds on the historical ASHI technical excellence.

Branding is a way in which ASHI will extend its definition of value to include service in conjunction with the technical excellence that has been key to ASHI’s first generation of success.

Branding will make ASHI synonymous with home inspection, and it will make the ASHI Experience sought after such that home inspectors will need ASHI as a key partner in their practice. Branding will create an attractive public image for the profession that will translate into more demand, more profitable inspection businesses and a higher level of protection and satisfaction for the home buying public.