Toward the end of 2009, Tarion once again commissioned customer research through an independent third party to measure how we are viewed by homeowners and builders. We conducted similar studies during the previous two years and are now able to look at the results over time. Our intention in seeking consistent feedback is to assess customer satisfaction and determine what we need to focus on in order to continually improve. Detailed results from 2009 homeowner and builder surveys can be found on tarion.com. All surveys were conducted by Crunch Research in partnership with Harris Decima.
Understanding Homeowner Experiences with Tarion
Our homeowner satisfaction survey was broadened in 2009, as we sought responses from purchasers in all stages of the seven year warranty. Previously, we had only surveyed homeowners who were in their first year of possession. Questionnaires were sent to more than 38,000 consumers who took possession of a home between October 1, 2008 and September 30, 2009* and 9,000 randomly selected homeowners who took possession of a new home between October 1, 2002 and September 30, 2008**. In total, over 10,000 homeowners responded.
Results from the survey of homeowners in their first year of warranty coverage generally mirror those from a similar survey conducted in 2008.
- Impressions of Tarion remain positive with over 85 per cent of homeowners perceiving the organization favourably and 57 per cent expressing high levels of satisfaction with their Tarion interactions.
- Most homeowners view us as accessible (89 per cent), able to listen to their needs and concerns (80 per cent), easy to do business with (81 per cent), able to help them understand their warranty rights and responsibilities (83 per cent) and able to make sure builders fulfill their warranty obligations (77 per cent). None of these measures varied by more than one per cent in comparison with the previous year’s results.
- Fifty-seven per cent were extremely or very satisfied with the service they received (compared with 59 per cent in 2008).
- Among those who interacted with us by telephone, email, or mail, responses were consistent with 2008 results.
- Conciliation inspections represent an area of particular improvement. Sixty-four per cent of homeowners who had a conciliation or claim inspection said they were highly satisfied with the courtesy of their Tarion representative – a four per cent increase over the previous year’s results. In addition, 59 per cent were highly satisfied with how their representative listened to their needs and responded to their questions (an increase over the 2008 results of four per cent and five per cent respectively).
Results of the survey among homeowners in their second year through seventh year of warranty coverage indicate that satisfaction levels decline marginally in years two through five and more steeply in years six and seven.
- It is important to note that homeowners in year six or seven of warranty coverage took possession of their home between October 1, 2002 and September 30, 2004. Most did not benefit from improvements made during this period which included the launch of Construction Performance Guidelines (April 2003), mandatory customer service standards for builders (October 2003) and a centralized Customer Service Centre (June 2004).
- Impressions of Tarion decline marginally among homeowners in each of the first five years of possession dropping more steeply in years six and seven. Satisfaction levels with Tarion interactions follow the same pattern, although only between 11 and 15 per cent of homeowners reported having any contact with us after their third year of possession.
- Among those who did have contact with Tarion during years two through seven of their warranty, at least 79 per cent viewed us as accessible across all years of warranty coverage and when asked if we were easy to do business with, results ranged from 78 per cent among those in year two of the warranty to 51 per cent among those in year seven.
Understanding Builder Experiences with Tarion
A survey of builders was also commissioned in 2009. It was conducted by telephone among 275, randomly selected builders who were registered with Tarion and had at least one possession during the previous 12 months. Results were statistically weighted to reflect the distribution of builders across the province by size and region.***
Where possible, the measures below are compared to the results of a similar survey completed in 2007.
- Despite the effects of a weak economy, 87 per cent of builders expect a promising or stable marketplace over the next 12 months.
- Thirty-eight per cent are highly satisfied with Tarion’s overall performance (compared with 55 per cent in 2007).
- Sixty-six per cent of builders describe their relationship with Tarion as “excellent” or “very good” and 73 per cent are willing to say positive things about us to others if asked.
- Ninety-three per cent of builders view Tarion as accessible (compared with 90 per cent in 2007), 75 per cent said we are fair (compared with 86 per cent in 2007) and 81 per cent view us as consistent (compared with 80 per cent in 2007).
- In addition, 73 per cent see us as easy to do business with, 70 per cent feel we listen to and understand their needs and concerns (compared with 86 per cent in 2007) and 74 per cent believe we are effective at handling homeowner claims (compared with 87 per cent in 2007).
- In 2007, 11 per cent of builders said they had issues with the changes we had made during the previous two years. In 2009, after we introduced several fee increases and changed the terms of warranty coverage to make builders responsible for claims over $150,000 (to a maximum of $300,000), the percentage of builders with concerns about changes we had made jumped to 42 per cent. Major concerns included fee increases, the “off-loading” of warranty liability to builders, fairness and the need for improved communication.
* Results are accurate to within +/- 1 per cent 19 times out of 20.
** Results are accurate to within +/- 2.7 per cent, 19 times in 20.
***Builder survey results are accurate to within +/- 5.9 per cent, 19 times out of 20.