A letter from our Chief Executive, Pete Redfern to our customers
To all our customers,
Thank you for your continued patience, understanding and support during this challenging time.
I wanted to take the opportunity to update you on the changes we are making to our business to get back to work safely and to support you, our employees and our wider communities.
Our focus throughout this crisis, and all our subsequent planning and actions, has been on the health, safety and wellbeing of our employees, customers and partners, while doing all we can to support those who are the most vulnerable.
I wrote to you on 23 April to update you that we were reopening our sites in England and Wales with a safe and phased return to construction and the operating of strict social distancing protocols, in line with Government guidance and medical advice. Last week our site management team returned to the majority of our sites to put in place a series of additional health and safety and social distancing measures and to prepare for our subcontractors to return this week, when we will restart construction in a controlled way.
Following the latest UK Government guidance today (13 May 2020) removing the restriction on non-essential home moves and supporting the return of activities related to the sale and purchase of homes, we will be taking the same slow and steady and phased approach to reopening our sales offices and show homes from 22 May 2020.
Having conducted a detailed review of our sales processes and interactions and having regard to the latest government guidance, we have developed a new set of protocols which include a fully revised set of working practices and staffing arrangements and a new layout of sales centres with the installation of Perspex screens and marker guides for social distancing. These additional measures will ensure we maintain strict social distancing in line with Government guidance, and provide additional reassurance and protection for our customers and sales teams. These revised measures meet the Government ‘Covid-19 Secure’ principles for safe return to work.
This approach will apply to England only at this stage, based on Government guidance. We are progressing our plans to ensure that the sales areas in our Scottish and Welsh developments are ready to safely reopen, as soon as they are permitted to do so.
Although we are restarting our construction work and starting to reopen our sales areas, we remain committed to all the other things we have been doing over the past few weeks. Many of our people have been volunteering during the lockdown to support local people who are vulnerable or to support the NHS. We have been very proud to play our part in our local communities through this crisis, focusing on those most in need. We have now distributed 120,000 surgical masks, 75,000 pairs of gloves and donations of toys and activities from our own staff to care homes across the country. We will also be distributing 120,000 disposable aprons in the coming weeks, along with over 800 reusable face shields which we have manufactured. The response from the care homes has been overwhelming and is a source of great pride to our employees.
We have also found new ways of working that have helped us to stay open remotely because we wanted to be here for you. The feedback we have received about these new ways of working has been really valuable and we want to continue to hear from you about how we can make ourselves more accessible on a more permanent basis. We will be in touch with you again about this in the weeks ahead.
New customers and customers who have reserved but not yet moved in
We are reopening our sales centres and show homes in a safe and responsible manner, offering you an individual and personalised service
You may well have heard that Taylor Wimpey was the first of the major homebuilders to close our construction sites and our sales areas to ensure that we were able to protect our people and our customers. Health and safety is always, and will remain, our overarching priority and we will only ever work in a manner that respects the safety of our employees, our customers, our partners and wider communities, and our approach to reopening has depended entirely on this.
We understand how important your home is to you and know you may want to visit our show homes and developments and sometimes there is no substitute for talking to someone in person.
With the change in Government guidance and our new protocols in place, from today you will be able to book an individual and personal appointment to visit our sales offices, and will be able to book an unaccompanied visit to our show homes from Friday 22 May. Your health and safety and that of our employees is our priority so, at this time, we will be opening for pre-booked appointments only initially and appointments will be timed to protect your safety, with a maximum of two customers from the same household permitted in our sales areas at any time.
Appointments can be booked in advance on our website or by phone and the duration and focus of these appointments will be tailored to suit you.
During the period when our sales areas have been closed we have been busy and our new ways of working have meant that we have been able to speak to a high number people making enquiries about purchasing a new Taylor Wimpey home and have held almost 1,000 remote appointments to discuss their needs. We have also welcomed hundreds of new customers to the Taylor Wimpey family in making their new home buying decision. These new ways of working are something we want to continue so we are as available to you as you need us to be.
We have enhanced our digital and online capability to bring you more including a fully remote homebuying experience
During this crisis we have continued to sell homes to new customers and progress purchases. We have remained very much ‘open for business’ remotely during the lockdown through our website, by email and by telephone, and, have expanded this further. You can now complete your entire homebuying journey, from registering your interest through to completing on your purchase entirely remotely.
For those customers who are able, we encourage you to continue to reach us in this way. As well as suitably distanced face to face appointments in our sales centres, we continue to offer telephone and video appointments for registering your interest through to reservation and throughout the purchase process. Both our website and telephones are supported by our dedicated Sales Executives and regional teams who remain contactable and who are on hand to support you.
You can continue to contact our sales centres and regional businesses by telephone and through our website www.taylorwimpey.co.uk Our website is updated daily and includes our latest availability of new homes, their pricing, the ability to download brochures and virtual tours of many of our show homes.
We want to make things easier for you
We know this is a difficult time for you we want to make things as easy as possible. This includes flexible working hours so there is someone to speak to when it suits you. You are also able to request a call back and make an appointment with an independent financial advisor.
We will keep you connected on the progress of your new home through our customer portal, Touchpoint, which lets you keep up to date with build progress, select options to personalise your home and to raise any questions you may have, at your convenience.
We look forward to, and will be asking for, your feedback on how we can better help and support you during this time, including the possibility of extending our opening hours so that we can support our customers better at times that suit them.
Customers already living in a Taylor Wimpey home
We will continue to prioritise customers’ home emergencies and are looking to extend customer service provision
During the lockdown period we have continued to attend any reported home emergencies. We will continue to prioritise this but have now been able to extend our service to customers by beginning to book in external works, under our new construction protocols.
With a new set of revised guidelines in place, we will be contacting customers in the coming days to begin to book in non-emergency (but what we would classify as ‘urgent’) work in your homes. Urgent items are those requiring immediate attention because it either restricts the use of certain rooms or is likely to cause further significant damage or inconvenience.
This will always be subject to the work being able to be carried out safely and you, the customer, being happy that arrangements are right for you.
Whilst we work through the backlog of issues built up during lockdown, we are providing online support where it is appropriate, to enable our customers, if they wish to resolve issues for themselves rather than having to wait for us to fix these.
We want to give you added reassurance at this challenging time and will be extending the Taylor Wimpey warranty for all customers currently in warranty
We know that this has been a challenging time for everyone. I want to assure you that we remain committed to you and will honour our responsibilities to you.
You can continue to report any issues to our teams by phone, email or via Touchpoint.
Our homes come with a two-year Taylor Wimpey warranty. As a thank you to all our customers for your patience and support during this time and to give you added reassurance, we will extend our two-year warranty for all customers in warranty (regardless if you have just started that warranty period or are running out) by two months free of charge. For customers whose warranty has expired during the lockdown period, we will also extend these by two months. We want to make it easier for you and to show we remain absolutely committed to you.
Finally, thank you once again for your continued support and understanding, and for the trust you have placed in us. We won’t let you down.
CEO Taylor Wimpey plc