Keepmoat uses NHBC HUG to support rapid growth

Keepmoat is a fast-growing builder, active across Britain. Formed in 1931, the Yorkshire-based builder expects to complete over 4,000 new and regenerated homes in 2016 and even more in 2017.

To keep up with the pace of growth, the company is constantly looking at ways to ensure consistency across the business and the company structure is currently being evolved to make sure that each of its teams can focus on a realistic level of work without letting standards slip.

From a homeowner point of view, any change needs to be seamless, and this is one of the areas where Keepmoat's close relationship with NHBC is paying dividends with Keepmoat's customised version of NHBC Home User Guide (HUG) playing a key part.

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A simple place to keep complex information

Keepmoat began to trial NHBC HUG early in 2015. HUG is an online consumer portal initially developed by NHBC to simplify the process of homeowners acknowledging their Buildmark policy.

The scope of the HUG system has been expanded to help homeowners further, giving them a single online reference point for a wide variety of information about their new homes. HUG can contain manuals for appliances, information about paints and materials so that they can be matched in the future, reminders about the things homeowners need to do to keep their homes running smoothly, and information about Buildmark.

HUG is now being offered to all homeowners with a Buildmark policy, with Keepmoat embracing the system with particular enthusiasm because it fits with the firm's determination to offer exceptional customer service.

"We have significant ambitions for the next few years. But to achieve our goals we need to make sure that the way that we work stays as consistent and as quality focused as possible across the business. HUG plays a key part of this," observes Mark Knight, Regional Managing Director of Keepmoat Homes Yorkshire.


Flexibility and reduced costs

Keepmoat's customised version of HUG, developed in partnership with NHBC, has sections that tell clients what stage of development their house is at, as well as information about local amenities.

"While creating this can sound like a lot of online development work for a firm that's focused on building houses, our programmers worked closely with Keepmoat's project management team to ensure that the Keepmoat HUG could do exactly what they wanted without having to go through a long and costly development process," says Claire Towell, NHBC's Customer Implementation Project Leader for HUG.

This has enabled Keepmoat to implement a very flexible system more quickly and at a far lower cost than if the firm had developed similar functionality internally.

HUG has been built to reduce levels of administration with data a builder puts in once being used on multiple plots or sites as appropriate. This lets teams get on with delivering the best possible homes and improves customer service, as well as helping ensure that Keepmoat helps NHBC comply with the Financial Conduct Authority's requirement for full customer transparency.


Giving the homeowner what they expect

From the homeowner perspective, HUG contains full details of the Buildmark policy. Clearly in an ideal world this information will not be needed often, but by storing it online, policyholders can be certain that they are using accurate, up-to-date information. This can help get a claim resolved as quickly as possible.

As well as saving space by keeping lots of relevant information online rather than gathering dust in a kitchen drawer, HUG offers a number of other advantages. By going paperless there are cost savings and environmental benefits for Keepmoat. The system also gives homeowners the ability to consistently report snags with a new home as they arise, and progress towards fixing them can be easily tracked by both the builder and the homeowner.

Mark Knight also commented on some of the other benefits the online HUG would bring to Keepmoat and its customers: "Having the online HUG provides us with another really great communication channel to engage with our customers. Keeping them up-to-date with everything that they need to know via a single portal both simplifies the processes for us, as well as allowing us to get much more dynamic with our communications. It allows us to update and communicate with customers as things happen in almost "real time", and customers have told us that this level of communication is critical to enhancing their purchasing experience."

"We want to make sure that buying a home with us is an experience, not a process," observes Knight. "By implementing HUG, we are using technology to support our homeowners, giving them a quick and efficient way of communicating with our teams, making sure that any questions they have are answered quickly and any snags they discover are resolved with as little fuss as possible."


Building Keepmoat's reputation

With so much focus on the quality and availability of housing in the UK at the moment, Keepmoat is keen that it stands out, both as a builder of quality homes and as an organisation that supports homeowners by providing exceptional customer service.

"We want to be a business that our homeowners recommend, and to do that we need to keep them involved with us throughout the process of buying a home and well into ownership," concludes Knight. "Using HUG lets us communicate with homeowners efficiently, it helps us manage and resolve their issues effectively and it means that as a business we deliver our projects consistently. As part of our strategy to deliver exceptional customer satisfaction it's a great tool."

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