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A day in the life of… A member of the customer forum

Jennifer Anderson lives in Rushden and is a member of the Longhurst Group Customer Forum. Here, we spend a day with her as she takes part in one of the Forum’s meetings to see what the role entails…


I go over the papers received along with the minutes of the last meeting, adding any extra comments that I think are relevant. The papers were emailed a couple of weeks ago as it’s very important to have time to read through and understand what you’re giving customer assurance on, on that day.


We all log onto Microsoft Teams – the meeting platform – and the meeting starts. Helen Bird, Customer Engagement Manager, will be chairing the meeting today with John Cole, who’s another member of the Customer Forum. John recaps on the last meeting and all relevant updates.


We’ve got three reports to discuss today, and they’ll be presented by colleagues from Longhurst Group. First to present is Paul Harrington, Performance Business Partner, discussing the latest performance for the Group. He highlights the different levels of performance, especially call centre handling and customer feedback monitoring. He points out that repairs and voids are key areas of focus for the business and a weekly recovery plan is in place which is being monitored against forecasted figures. He finishes up by saying that the Customer Forum would be kept up-to-date with matters.


Next up is Sam Wylie, Head of Customer Voice. Sam introduces the report, giving a brief overview of customer satisfaction. She reports that an increase in customer satisfaction has come about due to more information being shared with customers about the repairs service. This has helped to manage customer expectations and the Customer Forum notes the report.


Helen Bird now gives the Customer Forum a customer engagement update. Helen discusses the reviewed framework and said that the roundtable discussion held with the Customer Forum in November, as well as a gap analysis session with Tpas – England’s leading tenant engagement expert – were very helpful.


We now move on to policy assurance and to the domestic abuse policy, which are presented by Becky Budge, Customer Engagement Officer. She addresses the questions and comments made by members of the Customer Forum, which include the need for safe houses and perhaps a safe word that Customer Services would recognise in an emergency situation. The Customer Forum approve the policy.


Now it’s time for any other business and the schedule for the year ahead is discussed. Finally, we have a recap of the meeting and agree future agenda items.


Now I go on my power walk in aid of Shelter, having signed up for the 50 mile in March challenge – although I’m doing my walk early as I know I’m very busy in March and may not have the time. I’ve already completed 40 miles of it by now, so only another 10 miles to go!


As the Director of Wildlife Studies for Akkadium college, I now have work to do for my students who are halfway through one of the courses. This particular course that I’m teaching is about Raptors in the wild and in captivity and includes topics such as conservation, ecology, endangered species and sustainability/bio-diversity. I also have to mark their work.


Following the meeting, it’s time for a meeting with the Longhurst Group Procurement Team to discuss the next stage of evaluations of tenders submitted as part of the Group’s procurement of new repairs contractors. This is a two-hour meeting and, after the meeting and over the next couple of weeks, there’ll be a lot of work to do as I’ve got to read through the contractors’ comments and answers to the panel’s questions one by one. We have to score them via computer software and say why we’ve given them this score. This is a small but important part of the whole procurement process.


Thank goodness, it’s time for a cup of tea! I feel like I need a large brandy by now but I’ll settle for a chocolate biscuit instead!


Now it’s time to speak to my students on the forum platform and have a question and answer session.


This is the time to prepare for a meeting as governor on the board of a school. Other governors will also be approving policies and discussing school business during the Teams meeting, which is due to be held between 6pm and 7.30pm, after which it’s time to wind down and relax!

Jennifer stood smiling
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