Fourth successive year of improved customer satisfaction

Housing Thu, Mar 18, 2021 2:22 PM

Housebuilders have delivered a fourth successive year of improved customer satisfaction the results of the industry annual customer satisfaction survey shows. 91% of the customers that responded said they would ‘recommend their builder to a friend’, the highest since the survey began in 2006.

Recent years has seen an intense focus on quality and customer service across the industry. This has resulted in consistent improvements across all the survey’s key question areas, improvements that have been maintained again this year despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, that saw sites closed and made accessing properties to carry out any aftercare work more difficult.

To achieve such improvements, individual companies have reviewed their own internal quality assurance processes and ‘customer journeys’. Whilst the industry capacity has over recent years been grown to ensure that quality is not compromised as volumes have increased.

Results from the survey, that was sent to the purchasers of over 76,000 new build buyers shows that;

  • 91% of buyers would recommend their builder to a friend, the key question on which the HBF’s ‘Star Ratings’ are based, up 2% on last year and up 7% since 2016.
  • Over 92% of those who bought a new build home would buy new again.
  • 88% were satisfied with the quality of their new home,(6% neither satisfied nor unsatisfied)
  • The industry achieved a Net Promoters score of 42, up 3 points on last year.
  • 82% of buyers were satisfied with their builder in relation to their home being complete on time – this despite the delays caused by coronavirus.
  • 84% of buyers were satisfied with the service during the sales process; 83% with the condition of the home when they moved in.
  • Over 70% of buyers said the number of ‘snags’ they reported was less than or in line with what they expected; whilst 81% said they were happy with the service provided by the builder after occupation.

Whilst the survey demonstrates the progress being made there remains a commitment to go further and build upon the improvements of recent years with regards to quality and service. The industry fully supports moves to put an independent New Homes Ombudsman Service in place later this year; and the introduction of a new code of practice that will place considerably more requirements on builders, in particular with regards to how they handle any complaints and deal with issues customers have with their new home.

Speaking today HBF’s executive chairman Stewart Baseley said:

“The survey demonstrates that the industry is delivering an excellent level of service in the opinion of over 90% of its customers. The fact that we have seen four successive years of improved satisfaction levels shows the clear focus builders have been putting on the customer. That this level of satisfaction has been delivered during a pandemic that saw sites closed and builders unable to access homes for a period makes it even more of an achievement. The industry remains committed to maintaining the significant progress of recent years and fully supports moves to put an independent New Homes Ombudsman in place to strengthen customer protections and continue to drive up standards.”

The survey is one of the largest of its type undertaken in the UK. This year 76,300 surveys were sent out, a drop on last year that reflects the impact coronavirus has had on the number of sales completed. Of those 62% were returned. The results cover the 12-month period from October 1, 2019 to September 30, 2020.

In response to a recommendation made in the APPG ‘more homes fewer complaints’ HBF commissioned Ipsos MORI to undertake a full independent review of the Customer Satisfaction Survey and its processes in 2017 . The report concludes that the survey is a robust measure of customer satisfaction in the new homes industry. Ipsos MORI has been asked to undertake a further review of the survey in the coming months.

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