Customer First has lift off!
A new focus for our housing management service.
Over several months, we have reviewed how we can better deliver our services to our general needs, independent living, and leasehold residents as part of a new customer service model, Customer First.
Our customers' and colleagues' feedback about how our housing operations teams deliver their services to these customers has been central to the project's focus and outcomes.
Here's some of the feedback we received and what we are doing to improve our customers' overall experience of our services.
'We don't see our housing officer.' - We have recruited more Area Housing Officers so we can be more visible in your communities. Our new officers will be able to get to know your neighbourhood and you better.
'Your teams don't seem to talk to each other.' - We will be increasing our ability to answer more queries at the point when they are raised. We will be doing this by improving our telephone systems, increasing training for frontline roles, and setting our teams up to work better together.
'Response time to enquiries can be quite long.' - We will be reviewing how we do things. Focusing on any areas of concern that will improve customer experience. We will involve our tenants and residents in these reviews to understand what is important to you and why truly.
What Customer First means for our general needs, independent living, and leasehold customers.
• We will respond to more queries with a 'right first-time' approach
• Customers will be able to access their dedicated Area Housing Team more easily
• There will be lots of opportunities for customers to get involved, providing feedback on our services and helping us to improve continually
• We want to get to know our customers better to understand what else we can be doing in your area and communities. You will see more events, surveys, and updates coming soon
• A better service experience.
Our general needs, independent living and leasehold team changes from 05 April 2021
• Our General Needs and Independent Living Housing Management Team is responsible for general tenancy management and managing the neighbourhood.
• The Income Collection Team is responsible for rent and service charge collection.
• The Community Safety Team is responsible for investigating incidents of anti-social behaviour.
• The Independent Living Team manages our independent living accommodation and supports the residents.
• The Leasehold and Contracts Team manage our leasehold accommodation and monitor contracts such as grounds maintenance, window cleaning, and communal cleaning.
From 5 April, you will still continue to receive specialist support from any of these teams, and you will recognise a lot of the same faces. However, the teams will now come together for defined areas to better serve the residents who live there. It is hoped this will improve how we communicate with our customers and with each other. Each team will be managed by an Area Housing Manager who will oversee all activities within their area and take the lead in planning how we operate.
The Group is now looking to adapt and embed the model across the organisation for our supported living tenants and other customers of our housing and non-housing services.
Supported Living has already started on this Customer First journey to look at ways to improve service delivery to our tenants. We have had invaluable input from our fantastic team and are enthusiastic and positive about our future. So far we have;
• restructured to bring Income Collection and Community Safety functions into the supported living team. Going forward we will look at tailoring procedures in these areas to better meet the needs of our tenants.
• recruited two new Supported Living Housing Officers based in the South East and South West. This will enable us to increase the number of visits our tenants receive, to a minimum of two visits a year.
• started the recruitment process for a Supported Living Contracts and Service Charge Officer so that we can improve all aspects of our procurement and contract management, ensuring we deliver excellent services and value for money.
• welcomed the Supported Living Services Assistant to the team who will help us better manage the bulk ordering and support the Supported Living Contracts and Service Charge Officer.
• started the process to recruit a Team Leader for our Supported Living Housing Assistants. We recognise the vital work they do in managing the life of a tenancy . This role will help us to coordinate these functions and look at process improvements.
• carried out a thorough review of our annual review visit form. This First Touch form is now fully automated on the IPAD, meaning all aspects of the review visit are automated and slick, meaning the quality of the visit is improved. This form has included recommendations from our scrutiny pool and Health and Safety colleauges.
• looked at the feasibility of introducing caretaking services at some of our larger flat schemes. This will be considered in the next few months.
• embraced the Customer First Service Improvement Model and are committed to improving all aspects of our service.
I joined Progress Housing Group last year, and what a year it has been! The pandemic has brought many challenges, and I am grateful for how my colleagues and our customers have managed to adapt through this time. It has helped us accelerate some of the changes we have been wanting to make, consider how we use technology better, and, most importantly, make us think about what more we can do to help our tenants, residents, and customers. The launch of Customer First is a fantastic step forward in how we can do more together and really aims to put you at the heart of everything we do! Robert Porter, Service Director of Operations at Progress Housing Group