In our construction businesses we build long-term relationships with clients. By working collaboratively we are able to align clients’ needs with their long term ambitions. This approach is becoming even more important as projects become more complex and demanding.
These complexities mean we carry out some of our projects in joint ventures where specialist skills or expertise are needed. Examples of our joint venture partners are engineers, other contractors and consultants on our frameworks for the water utilities and larger highways projects.
This approach has allowed us to maintain and improve our level of customer satisfaction, which was maintained at 83%, and has been recognised through the awards that we have won during the year. Our Net Promoter Score within Construction was 34%
The quality of the projects we deliver is also important as we work for clients again and again. In the last year 53% (by value) of the work we completed was for clients for whom we had completed projects previously.
Customers influence every decision we make, from the land we buy to the homes we design. We set out the service our customers can expect from us through a Customer Charter, and they also receive:
- A homeowner manual, explaining the purchase process and providing other useful information including hints and tips on greener living.
- A home demonstration, to explain every aspect of their home before they move in.
During the year, we revised our approach to measuring customer satisfaction. We were using an independent company and our customers were also being approached by NHBC for its survey.
This led to survey overload and customer fatigue. We have now adopted the NHBC system. We retained our target from the previous satisfaction survey of 90% and returned a rate of 86.4% from NHBC. This shows that we still have work to do to improve the customer experience and achieve our Five Star status.
We recognise that the power of customer sentiment is huge to both our customer retention and recommendation for others to look to Linden Homes as their housebuilder of choice and are continuing our focus on The Linden Way, which places the customer at the forefront of every decision we make to address this and improve our scores. We have also introduced Improvement Forums across the key disciplines of land, planning, technical, commercial, production, customer service, sales and marketing, communication and IT to develop and implement improvements in a consistent manner across Linden Homes.
We are pleased to report that our defects per plot measure fell significantly, from 0.46 to 0.29 this year. A continued focus on the final stages of building and handing over homes will see us move closer to our target of 0.25.
The reduction in running costs due to improved energy efficiency is also one of the greatest advantages for customers when buying a new home. We build our homes to be energy efficient by adopting a fabric first approach, and have been discussing this approach with Government. We also believe that allowing people to understand their energy use is vital to helping them be more efficient. So we have trialled smart meters on several schemes and await guidance from Government on their specification.
We are building more and more energy efficient homes by improving the fabric of the buildings first; in the year 2013-14 achieved Level 3 or above of the Code for Sustainable Homes (or equivalent). To help us understand how effective our fabric first approach is we have started to undertake post-occupancy monitoring.