How can you please the ever-demanding customer? Crest Nicholson Residential seems to know, as it takes this category, sponsored by The Housing Forum, for the second year running.
Crest Nicholson Residential

The winner of this category last year and a top performer in the Housing Forum's National Customer Satisfaction survey, Crest Nicholson Residential continues to impress with its strategy. Recognising its need to maintain and continuously improve its standards, the company appointed a group customer service manager last year and senior management has created a series of build and quality procedures. The pre-handover check carried out on each home by the site manager and building manager, which includes a list of 500 points of inspection, is being made even more rigorous. After a home is occupied, buyers are surveyed by a third party and any question in the survey receiving a response of below 5 is classed as a "hot alert" and forwarded to the group managing director for action. The strategy has a more direct impact on employees as the company's customer service interface staff and construction staff are awarded bonuses based on the feedback received from customers on service and quality.

Bowey Homes

Willingness to refer – to tell your friends or family that what you've bought is so good they should buy it too – is a prime indicator of customer satisfaction. Bowey Homes set itself the target of getting a referral score of 90% in its customer surveys, and it has achieved that target through a range of measures starting at the top. The customer care team now reports directly to the chairman and chief executive, who deal with all major customer issues. A series of pre-occupation checks has been developed to allow buyers to become familiar with their homes and the housebuilder to identify any defects. Customer care staff are now allowed to directly involve appropriate staff from other departments to solve a customer problem and the company is developing customer-care software to monitor the timing of work done.

Laing Homes

Over the last 18 months Laing Homes has placed an increasing emphasis on monitoring customer satisfaction, and is building a bank of knowledge about the homebuying experience. A survey carried out one month after move-in covers 25 aspects of product and service, allowing the company to adjust future designs and address specific customer service and build-quality issues. The company's surveys show that 90% of customers are satisfied or very satisfied with the housebuilder's service and would be willing to refer, but Laing is looking to improve this figure still further.

They pioneered the push for customer satisfaction and are not resting on their laurels

Berkeley Homes

An impressive looking document called the Home Ledger that contains information on floor plans, management company details, maintenance responsibilities and warranty details is one of the latest customer service innovations to come out of Berkeley Homes. The housebuilder has also established internal systems that encourage greater personal contact and effective communication throughout the buying process. External surveys show that the strategy is working and customer satisfaction is consistently improving.