HBF Survey News

In March, Home Builders Federation (HBF) published the results of their ‘National new home customer satisfaction survey’, which reiterate the need for considerable improvement in customer service.

As a starting point, consider the fact that only 52% of those surveyed would be considered promotors of their developer.  The remaining 48%, who are either neutral or detractors, represents missed opportunity. If almost half of the residents on a development are either keeping quiet about their experiences or even speaking negatively about them to friends and family, it is unlikely that the developer will secure much, if any,business from referrals.  Conversely, research by American Express found that one happy customer can lead to up to nine referrals.  With this in mind, 48%of non-promotors adds up to a lot of lost business.

Improving customer service is one way of acquiring more promotors.  According to the survey, the level of service and information provided between reservation and handover can be improved upon.  In fact, only 53% claimed to have been ‘very satisfied’ with the service provided during the buying process.  When one considers that the NPS model that was used to determine promotors for the statistic above only considers scores of nine and ten to constitute a promoter, it could be surmised that even ‘fairly satisfied’ customers are not necessarily promotors.  This makes it all the more important to ensure the percentage of ‘very satisfied’ customers is much higher.  The buying process sets the tone for the customer experience and if this is found wanting, it may shape the customer’s ongoing perception of the developer and whether or not they become a brand advocate.

The importance of customer service continues to play a key role in the homeowner’s experience at the point of handover, where only 59% were ‘very satisfied’ with the handover process and 57% were ‘very satisfied’ with the information provided at handover.  The proximity of these figures suggests the two are closely linked, with a lack of information feeding directly into dissatisfaction with the process.  It is understandable that if a customer has just purchased a new build home and is not provided with adequate details on operating systems, maintaining fixtures and fittings, and who to contact for aftercare issues, it will have a detrimental impact on their assessment of the handover process.

The percentage of ‘very satisfied’ customers after moving in drops to 48%.  While this may be the result of a lack of information or communication, it is also worth noting that 99% reported problems after moving in.  While snagging issues are commonplace in new homes, a lack of information may exacerbate this figure, as issues that are easily resolvable or considered a normal part of settling in to a new home may be mistakenly reported as problems.  The fact that the number of ‘very satisfied’ customers is lower after moving in than during the buying process and at legal completion also either implies that customer care is seen as a lower priority after handover or customer service teams take a reactive, rather than proactive, stance.  This should not be the case, as this is the time when the most queries are likely to arise.

Ultimately, these figures point to the fact that more needs to be done in terms of customer service to ensure homeowners can enjoy the best possible customer experience and become promotors of the brand.  This is where Classic Folios can help.  There is a reason Classic Folios is the market leader in providing handover solutions, having dedicated over 20 years to binding the relationship between developers and their customers.  Our handover solutions fulfil the dual purpose of providing the homeowner or tenant with key information to help them make the most of their new home, as well as demonstrating a willingness to go the extra mile, reflecting their value to the developer.

Bespoke homebuyer, homeowner and tenant manuals, and a comprehensive property management portal provide ideal platforms for conveying information at each stage of the buying process, while the beautiful, branded folios, tablets and iPads, and the user-friendly portal reflect an investment in the homeowner that would not be achieved by simply providing a pile of paperwork.

Furthermore, an extensive range of welcome gifts can be provided to buyers at handover as a goodwill gesture to start their new chapter in style.

We can’t control everything.  Adverse weather might delay build schedules.  Stock might affect the availability of building materials.  Customer service, however, is something we can control, and Classic Folios is here to help.