Case study on authenticity: HomeServe

I read recently on PRmoment that “authentic” had become a buzzword in the communications business. For us at HomeServe though, “authentic” is at the heart of our story telling. There is no other way.

Over the years there has been a catalogue of companies and brands broadcasting stories that simply weren’t true… because they could. Communications from these brands was one-way. It was simple. The message was “controllable”.

Fast-forward to today, and modern communications channels mean consumers can give a true (and sometimes false!) account of a company or brand at the touch of a button or in just 140 characters. It has forced companies to do more, to try harder, and to live or die by their “authenticity”. That’s good news for me, for you and every other consumer out there.

The business strategy we introduced a few years ago says that a key “how to win” for us is to build our brand from the inside out.

Our view is that if a company is going to have any credibility, sincerity and authenticity in its storytelling, it is better keeping its powder dry until it has a story worth telling. That’s what we did. We got the business right first; Deliver what you promise. Do it well. Get organised so you’re not paying lip service but actually giving the best possible service for your customers and making their lives easy. It’s not rocket science. It’s simply giving a damn.

So when we talk about convergence, it's not just convergence of our earned, owned and paid activity, or even convergence of our employer and customer branding and messages – it's the convergence of everything we do, our product strategy, our service strategy, our engagement strategy, our core beliefs. Everything.

And doing this means that when you come to tell the story, it's actually relatively easy thing because you are building from such a strong foundation and you are telling the truth.

It’s a truth that is shared by the people who work for us, as it’s their story too.

We’re proud that our commitment to convergence and authenticity is reflected in our business results, our independent customer satisfaction and review scores, and our people engagement scores. They are tangible metrics linked to the work we’ve done. They mean the world to us all.

Don’t believe me? Have a look at online review service TrustPilot and at Glassdoor (a platform which allows our people to leave anonymous reviews). And of course, you are welcome to come and have a chat with us about what we’ve done – a number of FTSE 250 companies have done so lately - and if there’s something you can take away that helps we would be delighted. Because we are like that. We care. And we give a damn.

Background

HomeServe is one of the UK’s leading home assistance providers. For more than 20 years it has delivered maintenance and repair services, including plumbing, drainage, electrics and heating, though its nationwide network of engineers and specialist sub-contractors. 

Some stats and info about Homeserve’s initiatives and how they are succeeding:

  • CustomerFirst. HomeServe initiative CustomerFirst encourages its staff to share their experiences and suggest action. To give an indication of the success of this initiative, the company spent over £121,000 of a Hardship Fund to help vulnerable customers – helping over 760 customers.
  • Half-year People Survey. HomeServe’s engagement score has reached 81% and risen from 78% six months ago and 70% a year ago. This means it us currently ahead of the 80% engagement score it set for 2020.
  • Bloomberg Best Employers UK 2016 Survey. HomeServe was named the Best Employer in the Business Services and Supplies sector in the independent Bloomberg Best Employers UK 2016 Survey.
  • UKCSI. Homeserve recently topped the UKCSI list for the most improved company in the UK for Customer Satisfaction in the services sector. Homeserve is also highest in the industry when it comes to helpfulness of staff over the phone, with a score of 8.7 out of 10.

Article written by John Greaves, brand director at home assistance providers HomeServe