Purchasing a New Home is a significant expense for most consumers and with many Developers in the UK marketplace, there is a wide variety of approach and quality and for many purchasers it comes down to location, design and suitability. Often, expectations of perfection are present in a purchaser’s mind when buying a New Home, which is aided by the glossy and high-quality marketing and sales approach of many Developers.
Usually, quality customer-service and customer satisfaction go hand in hand with making profits and realising a successful business, and most Developers in the UK are genuinely committed to treating customers fairly and producing good quality homes. However, a Consumer Code as a self-regulatory presence is important to ensure that the consumer’s interests are not forgotten so that commercial pressures of development do not become the key decision making criteria since Developers who sign up to the Code are committed to abiding by the mandatory Code requirements.
And that is where the Consumer Code for New Homes comes in.
In order to maintain an effective and workable Consumer Code, it is essential to continually monitor the performance of Code Members & Code Users and as such, regular monitoring activities are undertaken and the data analysed, to enable the reporting of the findings on a regular basis internally. The Code Sponsor also produces an annual report which indicates ratios of performance against the key Code criteria, actions and remedies taken together with a review of the Code’s performance in improving the customer experience and quality of completed New Homes.
Ultimately these activities aim to drive up the quality of customer service and construction of New Homes, protecting the consumer from unnecessary headaches or detriment in the process.
The Code Sponsor has established the following key performance indicators, which have been determined to provide measured indicators of the effectiveness of the Code an on-going basis:
Buyer Engagement Levels: Buyer Response Rate - Sales Stage + Buyer Response Rate - After Sales Stage
Buyer Satisfaction Levels: Average Buyer Satisfaction Level - Sales Stage + Average Buyer Satisfaction Level - After Sales Stage
Legal Compliance Indicators: Average Solicitor Legal Compliance Rating
Handover Process Indicators: Average Cost of Snagging Process + Average Response Rate to Snagging Issues
Complaints & Dispute Resolution Indicators: Average number of complaints received + Average success of complaints + Average cost of DRS awards
Code Compliance Indicators: Average Rating for Third Party Audits + Average Rating for Code Audits + Satisfactory Compliance Rating + Unsatisfactory Compliance Rating
This will enable the Code Sponsor to monitor trends and identify any dip in performance promptly and initiate remedial action to maintain the enhanced level of consumer protection that the Code is designed to provide.
An annual review of the performance of the measures will be conducted by the Code Sponsor in order to establish if the measures remain effective and whether there are any priority areas which need to be addressed. The Code’s Board of Directors will review the results of this review and make recommendations as to any improvement or amendments which are required.
In order to collect the data to inform the Key Performance Indicators, to ensure the Code remains relevant and effective, regular Buyer surveys will be carried out to assess levels of customer satisfaction. Random audits, Third Party Audits (Mystery Shopper style), Developer reviews and assessments of customer satisfaction feedback and complaints will all be carried out to assess and monitor compliance with the Code and to identify areas for improvement both in the Code itself and for Developers’ application of the Code.
We have worked with Chartered Statisticians Select Statistics to ensure that our proposals for measuring performance are appropriate and statistically valid methods and they have provided validation of the proposals.
Every year, the Code publishes an Annual Report which will be published here for public review and presented by the Board to interested stakeholders.
The Code is newly established: the first Annual Report will be due in April 2017.
Within the report itself, information on the key performance indicators and general Code performance data will be displayed in a combination of tables (showing numbers, percentages and proportions), bar charts and pie charts as relevant. Commentary will be provided to help analyse and interpret results.