Customer satisfaction Survey
Recommendation 32 of the Barker Review (March 2004) said
the housebuilding industry must demonstrate increased levels of customer satisfaction, and called on the Home Builders Federation (HBF) to develop a strategy.
HBF’s strategy to help the industry raise customer satisfaction, which is being developed in consultation with home builders and Homes for Scotland, has three key elements:
- A national survey of new home buyers in partnership with NHBC
- A Code of Conduct and model Customer Charter, again in partnership with NHBC
- Guidance for home builders to ensure their purchaser contracts comply with the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999.
Key survey findings
- Levels of satisfaction with the service provided during the buying process More than three quarters (77%) were satisfied with the service provided during the buying process, including just over one third (35%) saying they were very satisfied. 12% were dissatisfied.
- Opinion of builder in relation to completing the home in time Almost three quarters (73%) regarded their builder as very (43%) or fairly (30%) good in relation to completing the home on time.16% regarded their builder as poor.
- Levels of satisfaction with the condition of the home on the day of moving in When asked about the condition of their home on move-in day, 70% were satisfied, including almost a third (31%) who were very satisfied. One in five (20%) were dissatisfied.
- Opinion of the standard of finish of the home Over two thirds (69%) regarded the standard of finish as good. A staggering one in five of purchasers (18%) regarded it as poor.
- Level of satisfaction with the service provided after moving in A clear majority (62%) were either very satisfied (29%) or fairly satisfied (33%) with the service after moving in. 24% were dissatisfied.
- Reported problems after moving in and whether these were in line with expectations Although most home purchasers had reported a problem to their builder after moving in, such as a defect or snag, a majority regarded the number of problems as either in line with expectations (38%) or fewer than expected (22%). However 39% said the number reported was more than expected. This may be down to the increased awareness of snagging defects and quality issues due to Websites such as Snagging.org.
- Levels of satisfaction with the quality of the home when taking everything into account Asked about their overall satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the quality of their home, 76% said they were very (35%) or fairly (42%) satisfied, whereas 13% were fairly (8%) or very (5%) dissatisfied.
- Whether customers would recommend their builder to a friend Three quarters (75%) of new home purchasers responding to the survey said they would recommend their builder to a friend, against one quarter (25%) who would not.
The overall picture to emerge from the survey is one of low levels of satisfaction among home buyers when compared to other industry sectors. To raise satisfaction levels to satisfactory levels the house builders will have to reduce post-occupation defects which have increased significantly since the last survey and improve their handling of after-sales service. It is HBF’s intention to publish customer satisfaction survey results annually, but consumer organisations must push them to ensure that a full set of results is published. At the moment the only detail refers to areas where the responses are favourable for the housebuilders. For example, it would be extremely useful for consumers to compare housbuilders in terms of the number of reported defects. Read the official results