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Benchmarking customer satisfaction for SMEs

Targeted efforts by the industry to improve customer satisfaction in previous years have been working, and now builders and SMEs can access data online to help them improve their customer satisfaction too.

The housebuilding industry has long since recognised the importance of customer satisfaction and has made enormous progress in achieving better results in industry surveys year on year. 

Building on this progress remains a priority for most housebuilders of all sizes and the National House-Building Council, which runs the industry customer satisfaction survey, is now able to provide the ultimate data and benchmarking to help individual builders drive future improvements.

Data offers real-time responses

While the annual Home Builders Federation five-star rating presents a strong indicator to potential homebuyers of a commitment to quality service, the real beauty is the data that sits behind this, providing almost real-time access to responses.

“The number of housebuilders scoring a five-star rating has risen from one in the first year to 13 out of the 16 builders last year”

With the NHBC carrying out the surveys and analysing the data for nine years, and also on behalf of HBF for eight years, the breadth of data analysed and available is unrivalled. In 2011 alone, NHBC sent out 80,000 homeowner satisfaction surveys at eight weeks and nine months after legal completion.

The surveys were originally introduced in 2004, in response to the Barker Review.

Targeted improvements by the industry have resulted in major improvements to customer satisfaction, with the number of housebuilders scoring a five-star rating rising from one in the first year of the survey to 13 out of the 16 builders last year.

A new online platform to help SMEs

In January the NHBC launched a new online platform that gives access to the data through a dashboard, providing the responses in an accessible and dynamic way. 

For builders, there is also the opportunity to add a number of bespoke questions to the surveys, allowing them to tailor the questionnaire to meet their specific requirements – be it to find out more about the sales team on site, customer services or running in issues following completion.

By electing to sign up to the service, smaller and medium-sized builders are able to gather feedback from homeowners and the opportunity to benchmark against similarly sized builders.

The benefits of customising the questions

Key customised questions for homeowners added by housebuilders to help extract the required information on sales and customer team performance have already included ‘were they kept informed about the purchase process?’ and ‘were they satisfied with the way running-in issues were addressed?’

Armed with the responses, the homebuilders have been able to identify training needs and make changes that have a direct and positive impact on the customer experience.

Toby Phillips is operations manager at NHBC

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