Isn’t customer satisfaction an indicator of good quality?

The construction industry is featured in the media almost daily and for the most part in a negative light. Designs include the wrong kinds of buildings or too densely built areas, apartments are too small or have a poor floor plan, the quality of construction is low and results in badly constructed buildings. There are major challenges related to the industry’s reputation: luckily, the Confederation of Finnish Construction Industries RT and its members have started the work to improve the reputation.

Earlier this year, the Nordic company EPSI Rating conducted a survey on customer satisfaction among the buyers of new apartments in Finland. The results show that the buyers of new apartments are very satisfied. For the third year in a row, the industry’s rating is very good and better than that of insurance, banking or telecommunications sectors. Also in Nordic comparison, satisfaction among Finnish buyers in the new apartment market is excellent.

So, there is a challenge to tackle in the housing market. A consumer who is thinking about their housing choices comes across negative stories from the world of construction in the media, although, on the other hand, a customer who has bought an apartment from a construction company says they are satisfied with the product and service quality and even says they feel loyalty towards the construction company. This leads us to the question: isn’t customer satisfaction an indicator of good quality? Technically, some might say that it isn’t because a consumer is not capable of assessing technical quality. Nevertheless, the consumer is prepared to invest hundreds of thousands of euros in this product.

If we compare the situation with another sector, let’s say cars, we can see that many car brands have had technical challenges and a significant number of cars have been called back for inspection, as happened to me this week. However, no one considers this a basis for judging that those car brands or the automotive industry in general are of poor quality. We housing developers invite our customers to see the apartment before the handover and to report any deficiencies to us. When a year has passed from moving in, we contact the customer again and ask if they have noticed any deficiencies in the apartment. Well, you can of course take your car to service for a check-up but you have to pay for it.

I’m truly proud of the good, positive feedback that we at YIT receive from our customers. The results of the spring’s EPSI Rating survey are the latest positive feedback on the long-term work that the entire organisation has carried out to ensure that we take the customer into account in all stages of residential construction, communicate regularly with the customer who is waiting for the apartment to be completed and wish the customer welcome to see the product they are buying as soon as it is safely possible.

In our opinion, good quality means that we hand over a flawless product to the customer. It is exactly this balance in the service and product quality that has helped us achieve the top position in customer satisfaction.

Of course, we make mistakes, too, but our goal is to immediately correct the errors we are responsible for. We even want to be part of our customers’ lives by offering them various services that enable smooth everyday life, so I think it is finally time to stop talking about the so-called taillight guarantee.

An apartment is a major purchase and traditionally Finns have had their assets firmly tied to housing. In addition, housing is associated with extensive social issues. However, I think it is wrong to blame us housing developers for all housing-related problems. Our goal is to offer people good homes or investment apartments while ensuring that this can continue to be done in a financially viable manner now and in the future. And we are proud that we have been able to bring joy and satisfaction to our customers. This is something we will invest in in the future, too.

Pekka Helin
Head of Customerships and Living Services, Housing