Family-run Cavanna Homes has been developing houses across the West Country since 1923. Its sites range from town-centre apartments all the way up to 1,000 plot estates with a mix of two, three and four bedroom homes.
Read on to see how they’re using NHBC Home User Guide (HUG) to communicate really effectively with their homeowners from the payment of an initial deposit through to handover and beyond.
Supporting a constantly evolving industry
NHBC HUG has been developed to help both sides in the house buying process.
For builders, a HUG offers a simple, consistent way of communicating with homeowners, helping them get their customers excited about a new property, even before contracts are exchanged or missives signed.
For homeowners, having all of a home’s details kept together in a secure online portal can help make life easier, sometimes in surprising ways. A HUG can be used to store information about the white goods in a home and guides to keeping new technology like solar panels working efficiently, as well as information about the NHBC Buildmark warranty and insurance policy.
Developed for homeowners
Cavanna Homes has also customised the HUGs it gives its homeowners with information about the local area that they are moving into.
“We want to make sure that the HUGs have details about everything from the tiles on the roof to the slabs on the patio, as well as up to date information about their local area. We also make sure that the HUG is ready as soon as the prospective homeowner puts down a deposit,” says Gemma Rubacki, build administrator at Cavanna Homes. “It lets us keep communicating with homeowners long after they move in which is great if we need to pass on useful information to make sure that they get the best out of their homes. In the past this would have meant putting together a mail shot for every home, but using HUG, we can simply add a new section to the applicable HUGs and the system will email the homeowners automatically to let them know there’s something new that they can have a look at. It gets the information out quickly, makes us look professional and saves the company time and money.”
Intuitive and economical
NHBC has focused on ensuring that HUG is intuitive for the homeowner and the builder.
“We’ve designed HUG to do a lot of things but in a simple, economical way”, says Enya Healey, HUG Co-ordinator at NHBC. “The system is aimed at enhancing the way that builders and their homeowners interact and we always try and answer people’s questions quickly and efficiently, whether they are from the homeowners or a builder’s team.”
From Gemma’s perspective, it’s an approach that’s paying off. “I’ve always found the response from NHBC to any of my queries to be really quick,” she observes. “Most of the time the system’s so intuitive that by the time I’ve picked up the phone and dialled the number to speak to the NHBC team I’ve already worked out the answer, but it’s great to know that the support is there if I need it. HUG helps us to deliver excellent customer service and the system has contributed to our continued recognition as a 5-star builder.”
Gemma has happily weaved HUG into her day to day activities. “I like to make sure that the HUGs are ready for prospective buyers as soon as they put their deposit down, and the information that we include can come from a number of different parts of the business, so I dip into the system as and when I have something to add to our homeowner’s HUGs” she explains. “I try and use HUGs in bite size chunks, little and often, so that when the homeowner is ready to move in their HUG portal already has lots of information in it.”
Cavanna Homes still issues a physical welcome pack to homeowners when they move into a new home, but the folder is significantly lighter than it used to be.
“The HUG approach has really minimised the amount of paper that we have to print out and manage,” Gemma says. “We still think it’s important to present a welcome pack to the homeowner so they have something lovely to unwrap when they move in that reflects the care we have taken in producing their home, but managing the packs is far less time and space consuming than it used to be. Using HUG really lets us focus on doing a fantastic job for our homeowners.”