The rewards of caring
This week’s announcement that Homeserve has entered the FTSE 100 Index for the first time couldn’t come at a better time. After months of global uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s a nice recognition of HomeServe continued belief that looking after its people and doing the right thing for customers is a central pillar of success.
Steady wins the race
HomeServe has come a long way since South Staffordshire Water acquired 52% of its Fastfix startup business 27 years ago for £100,000. It started as a plumbing insurance proposition that rolled out across the UK and then eventually internationally, with utilities. The model is as compelling today as it was in the beginning.
More than 25 years later, HomeServe continues to grow and entering into the FTSE 100 index of the top 100 UK publicly listed companies is a shining moment in its history.
That said the “average tenure on any index for a company is much shorter than it was 50 years ago,” says Chris Coulter, CEO of Globescan. “The world is going through all kinds of change; so much is happening. If a company is truly committed to being around for the next 100 years then it has to think differently and act differently.”
Fitting right in
Thankfully for HomeServe, it epitomizes that idea. There are a number of attributes that seem common to many FTSE100 companies and HomeServe fits right in.
- Strong leadership HomeServe has been led by the visionary hand of Richard Harpin, the founder and group chief executive, since its inception
- Ambition HomeServe sees ambition as a driving factor to do better, to offer added value and to reach more households. HomeServe believes it will do for home emergencies what Uber and Lyft have done for taxi rides.
- People culture HomeServe’s success has come from recruiting and developing an amazing team of 7,000 people who work with passion to deliver its purpose of making home repairs and improvements easy.
- Clear competitive advantage HomeServe’s highly differentiated products and services, which are designed to be used and genuinely valued by customers give it a clear competitive advantage
- Complete customer focus HomeServe aspires to be the most trusted provider of home repairs and improvements. It does this by putting the customer at the centre of everything it does.
While a steady hand on the rudder may win the race, HomeServe has no intention of falling asleep at the wheel. On the contrary, it continually engages with customers to adapt and evolve its product offerings to be even more useful. Innovation activities keep HomeServe at the forefront of the industry and contribute to the sustainability of its business.
Among the most recent innovations is Telefix, a free of charge telephone and video platform to help diagnose electrical, plumbing, heating/cooling and water heater problems in the home.
In the UK, the home expert portal Checkatrade, which provides an online directory of vetted tradespeople, has seen its number of members grow by 23% and consumer visits by 11% in 2019.
Combining relentless innovation with integrity and professionalism is one of HomeServe four global values, but ultimately, it’s all about people.
Caring is rewarding
At HomeServe, caring is a way of life and customers are at the heart of everything. An 82% retention rate demonstrates that it is serious about this.
During the pandemic, people around the world have been forced to spend a lot of time in their homes, and may have to continue to do so for the foreseeable future. As a result, the home has gained even more importance and its maintenance has become more urgent. HomeServe is ready to embrace and excel at supporting customers and partners with their changing need.
The company’s strong culture has shown itself to be a valuable asset in the last few months. Within two weeks of lockdown, 6,000 staff were working from home and engineers were volunteering to go into properties during the lockdown because they all believe in the HomeServe family and what it stands for.
Despite this latest accolade, HomeServe has no intention to rest on its laurels. The company will continue to foster courage, persistence and integrity. It will continue to nurture its exceptionally strong culture of putting the customer first.
Lending a helping hand
All over the world, HomeServe supports staff who want to dedicate some of their time to help customers, particularly vulnerable ones. In the UK, over 3000 jobs have been completed free of charge for NHS and social care workers. In the US, the HomeServe Cares foundation supports many initiatives including Caring for People to help those who face a home emergency they can’t afford or Caring for Vets to connect transitioning military personnel looking for apprenticeships with the contractor network.
In Spain, 184 volunteers provided repair services to 1,500 in six cities. In France, several events collected money to support the Habitat & Humanisme organisation and to offer repair service to people in social housing.
Ultimately, HomeServe’s achievements are down to strong and determined leadership, a successful business model and great people. Entering into the FTSE 100 index is a sign that sometimes, good things happen to good people.
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