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Building consents - problems reduce and satisfaction improves

Although building consent and inspection services continue to place significant demands on local councils, we are seeing evidence that the investment made by some councils during the past few years to improve service has begun to pay-off.

Between 2007 and 2011 (a troubled time for regulation and the building industry) CTMA conducted a series of annual customer experience baseline study of building consents and inspection services in New Zealand.  The studies helped participating councils identify sources of customer dissatisfaction and set service improvement priorities.

During that time, the studies helped participating councils to almost halve the percentage of customers who experience problems with the building consent process and showed that customer satisfaction at participating councils improved at more than twice the rate of other councils.


Building Consent SatisfactionCustomer Satisfaction

For participating councils, the average index of overall customer satisfaction showed an improvement of 23 index points from 2007 to 2010.  Responses from customers of other councils, suggested that their service improvement initiatives were actually falling behind.


Problem Experience

Amongst councils that participated in the annual study there was an average reduction in problems of 33 percentage points from 2007 to 2010.  However, responses from customers of other Building Consents - Problems Experiencedcouncils suggest that the steady reduction of problems seen between 2008 and 2009 was drifting upwards again.


Even though I would like to believe it was CTMA’s study that drove all these improvements, full credit should go to the councils involved.  It was their genuine concern for their customers that led to their participation and their efforts to improve service that has brought these positive results.

CTMA has replaced this annual baseline study with an ongoing industry-wide customer experience tracking programme to help local councils manage service quality throughout the year. More



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About the author: Paul Linnell

Paul LinnellPaul Linnell is a service improvement champion, working internationally with senior managers and their teams to help them achieve business success, reduce risk and build customer loyalty and advocacy by improving service to customers.  Paul specialises in the design and deployment of customer experience measurement, service quality improvement, complaints handling and preventive analysis programmes.  For most of his career he has worked in Europe and North America and for the past 10 years Paul has been based in New Zealand, continuing to serve clients globally.

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