You said, we did...
We're committed to providing a high quality service to our customers.
To do this we rely heavily on feedback to determine what we're doing well and the areas that we could improve.
We have set up a dedicated feedback platform to help us to continue to uphold our high standards.
With the help of our customers, we've already been able to implement multiple improvements to our services.
Customers in our rented homes often tell us that they feel they don’t know what to expect from the Grounds Maintenance service. From grass cutting to weeding, sweeping paths to collecting fallen leaves, the Grounds Maintenance service covers many things.
From your feedback, we recognised that it was important for you to know what you can expect from our contractors and when this work is to be carried out. That’s why we’ve now launched Grounds Maintenance customer portals for Idverde and Burley and Firths. There are two portals, one for each contractor.
Simply enter your address and your next and last visit dates will be shown. With the weather changing, customers have also been telling us that leaves are falling more frequently from trees and gathering in large piles.
We can assure customers that leaves will be collected by our Grounds Maintenance contractors. We’d also like to remind you that the Grounds Maintenance service now runs once a month rather than every fortnight over the winter period.
We’ll maintain your home to a good standard and aim to provide a quality repair service. When a repair is needed, we understand that it can cause some stress. We aim to minimise this stress and ensure that your repair is done in a timely manner and it meets your expectations. The following is feedback we've received regarding our repairs process, and how we've improved it.
As a result of this feedback, all boiler installers have been spoken to and will ensure that switches are back on after any work is carried out.
A dedicated person has been appointed at Mears and their job is to monitor the live tracking of appointments, working alongside the planners
Mears were made aware of this through our complaints procedure. A call back system is now in place to make sure calls are returned by the end of each day.
As a result, it’s been agreed to review the wording in the stage one letter and for compliance coordinators to ensure they check the service history with Mears before these letters are sent out.
Mears have now increased their oil resources and restocked in everything needed for oil boilers.
It was apparent that this was an issue for several customers. Mears have informed us that they’ve now recruited an extra air source heat pump engineer and are offering further training to other engineers.
During our investigation, it was discovered that this information wasn’t available as supervisors don’t record visits to customers’ homes as an engineer would. Mears said they’d change this so all visits are recorded on the system.
We’ve worked with Mears to improve the communication between them and customers when appointments are cancelled. They’ve increased the number of customers they’ve contacted to inform them about cancelled appointments from 26 percent to 71 percent. These have then been rebooked.
Service charge feedback
Many of our customers pay a monthly service charge, and our aim is to be totally transparent of what this money is going towards. If you'd like to request a service charge statement, please call the Customer Service team on 0300 123 1745, pressing option 3.
The service specification has been added to customer surveys and can be found on our repairs and maintenance page.
As a result, grounds maintenance and cleaning quality assurance checks are being carried out by the Estate Contracts Team where there are low scores received for these services, and we’ve identified areas for immediate improvement.
Feedback on our policies and processes
Below we've highlighted how we've adapted our policies and processes based on feedback from our customers.
Previously, flats above ground floor level would not be let to families with children aged under 10. As a result of customer consultation, we amended this policy and will now let flats above the ground floor to families with children over the age of seven.
The process of letting a property has now been digitalised to make it more efficient. During September 2020, we called customers to ask for their feedback about the experience and 96 percent said they thought the new process worked really well.
We’ve committed to meeting this timescale. We’ve trained ‘mystery shoppers’ who test our core services and they began working in September 2020, initially focusing on our Customer Service Team. A total of 19 mystery shops were completed and 15 received a response within two working days. The overall response was very positive, gaining more ‘excellent’ results than ‘poor’. We’re continuing to work with colleagues to improve this service even further.
This situation highlighted a need for members of the Customer Service Team to be fully aware of end of tenancy processes.
It’s also revealed that there needs to be a process in place for how end of tenancies should be monitored, in particular if there are reimbursements to our customers. Work is being done to ensure this is the case.
We revisited our recorded message and changed the sequence so that after the message had been played, music followed, before the message was repeated. This removed the pauses and eliminated the confusion.
We’re in the process of moving towards completing viewings in a virtual manner, where appropriate and possible. This’ll remove the need for applicants having to travel to be able to view the property.
We’re looking at providing applicants with recorded video tours of properties, as well as calling them when a colleague is at the property and walking them through using technology such as Facetime or WhatsApp.
Leasehold and Shared Ownership feedback
Based on feedback submitted to us, we've improved our services for our Leasehold and Shared Ownership customers in the following ways.
Following this feedback, we’re working with our leasehold customers and shared owners to establish and introduce a Customer Charter which relates specifically to them. This will be developed through close working with these customers.
Between January and March, customers led and completed a scrutiny review into our future re-let standard. They analysed customer feedback and complaints and scrutinised the current standard. They also recognised good practice by comparing our standard to other housing associations, through a desktop exercise.
They produced a report that identified improvements and these were communicated to the Head of Repairs and the Procurement Team. The Scrutiny Team will continue to hold us to account by monitoring the progress of the new standard throughout the new repairs contract.
Below are the recommendations from the report and how we’re actioning them.
A new lettable standard document has been drafted which is much clearer and includes pictures of acceptable standards.
We agreed with this excellent idea and decided to tie it into the pricing review.
We’ll also add a last reviewed/next review date to the front of the document, as we’ve got on policies.
Kitchens and bathrooms will be decorated in empty properties for cleanliness and hygiene reasons. Teams will decide on a case-by-case basis if further decoration is required, based on customer need.
We’re looking at using customers to inspect the quality of empty properties and to help ensure the new standard is being applied.
All compliance items are monitored when properties become empty before they’re let again. This’ll continue to happen in all re-let instances to ensure
that all legal requirements are met.
Within the new process, we’re proposing that some repairs could be completed after the re-let, providing this has been agreed with the incoming customer.
This should be minimal, but could be something such as a fence panel needing replacing or single tiles needing replacing. The condition of this is that
the customer is provided with a date for when the repairs are going to be completed and there should be a target of seven calendar days after re-let. Our
ICT system will be able to track targets as well to ensure they’re completed.