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Finalists revealed in House Builder Awards 2011

July 2011

Organisers confirmed that there were a record number of entries for the 2011 Housebuilder Awards.

For the customer satisfaction category the judges were looking for imagination in improving the service or product for customers, excellence and delivery above the norm, innovative approach, obvious benefits to customers, improving the core product, imaginative use of resources/staff and an imaginative/effective new system.

The judges noted that the customer satisfaction category is one of the most important as developers need to demonstrate their commitment to ensuring that their customers’ buying experience is of the highest standard. The judges noted that all the firms shortlisted in this category had demonstrated that they have gone beyond what was expected in terms of their customer care.

Rachael Norman, Customer Care Manager for Story Homes commented “At Story Homes we believe our customers should be provided with a friendly, professional, effective and efficient service at all times. Our reputation is firmly built on the quality of our properties and our high standards of Customer Care. Our team pride themselves on providing an easily accessible, knowledgeable and efficient service, with the minimum of fuss. We react quickly to customers’ requests and queries, providing information and organising remedial works timely, and as efficiently as possible, within set timescales, using skilled tradesmen and our own Customer Care technicians. We have had some exceptional customer feedback, which is confirmed by us being short listed for a customer satisfaction award.”

Story Homes’ Customer Care team can be contacted by phone, post, email and text. A unique text messaging service was introduced more than three years ago and has proved a very effective way of communicating with customers. This has enabled Customer Care to arrange appointments and respond to questions/issues much quicker, as customers who are often unavailable to speak because of work commitments will usually read and respond to a text message as soon as they receive it.

As part of Story Homes’ commitment to their customers, and their aim to continually improve products and services, they appreciate that feedback from their customers is essential. Story Homes provide all customers with a questionnaire six weeks after completion of sale. This gives important feedback as to the customer’s experience from the earliest stages of buying, right through to their first few weeks of living in their new home. However, at Story Homes, they feel additional longer term customer feedback is also extremely important (when the property has been lived in for a period of at least six months) and an additional questionnaire is sent out, with questions focused specifically on design, build, products, quality and service. This information helps Story Homes to stay customer focused, understand what works and what doesn’t, and helps to re-evaluate products and services on a regular basis and change/improve where needed. It is this level of customer service and attention to detail that has ensured Story Homes continue to sell homes during the current economic climate.

In a 2010 survey Story Homes asked buyers of their new homes whether they would be happy to buy again from Story, 100% said they would. One buyer qualified her answer saying she wouldn’t buy again because she loved her Story home so much she didn’t want to move! (94 responses received, January 09 to March 10). Can’t get much better than that!!

Notes for Editors:

1. Story Homes was a finalist in Scottish Homes awards 2011 for ‘small house builder of the year’.

2. Story Homes has had three sites nominated for awards by LABC/Premier Guarantee for developments in Lockerbie, Dumfries and Brampton.

3. Story Group has been recognised in the first ever Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers list, supported by the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) and City & Guilds.