Monday, 19 May 2014

(Hey Landlord) Don't Ask Me Questions

If you do the Twitter thing, follow me at @hotpixUK

Satisfaction surveys. We all should be doing them in housing, but how and why? Well the why a pretty simple one, particularly with regard to repairs. Knowing where we fall short, brings us to the areas where we fail, identifying waste and places to improve. Now this is an area bound to generate criticisms. Readers of this blog will be familiar with my standard repost to that one, the customer journey meeting. For a primer, check out

Now there are some interesting solutions appearing on the block for customer surveys. The Housing Contact Company are an interesting one. Low cost, high hit rates that only automated telephony can achieve. This technology has been proven in automotive. Drive a Beamer, Merc' or an Audi? Well you have probably encountered this type of survey before. If you are happy, you hit the zero button, otherwise the '1' key. End of story.

Now as we all know, if you drive one of those cars, the manufacturers would like you to see your service (for £650) an experience, not a transaction. for that price I can see then logic. In social housing, unfortunately, our response repairs can often be more of a transaction than an experience, it's got to be said. Still, we are keen to learn how to improve our customer service to improve what we deliver and reduce our costs (as strangely, it's been comprehensively proved, those factors do correlate.

Last week I was doing some work at a customer in the Midlands looking to start surveying using this technology. I had a lovely chat with the customer services manager, she was open to improvement, keen to be part of my customer journey meetings, but with some concerns. A super-positive lady, I took to her straight away.

How would older customers take to this automation, how should communication be handled, will telephone numbers be accurate, will dissatisfaction responses swamp the customer service centre?
Working through these, her eyes glistened and the mood lifted. We could limit to just under 45's to start with, we could adjust scripts to collect accurate telephone numbers, we could inform or opt-in each resident as we logged the repair, so they could be prepared for that post repair call. Maybe we could also ask if the customer thought they were satisfied, not satisfied or really satisfied, calling them with a follow-up for the last two.

I am really looking forward to getting this process started quickly, and so is that lady. I can see us feeding off each other to improve the repairs service and processes around it. Change is good. Improvement is good. To ask is good, and act on it afterwards. Make sure you act, otherwise you are just asking for asking's sake. Also, when your compliments do come in, don't just pin them on the staff noticeboard. Total them up and offset them against complaints, shout about them. They prove that you are doing things right. Now do more of it!

Read on to : Are you ready for Universal Credit HB Switchback in your area?


You can link with me on LinkedIn here - It would be great to connect !

Graham Parker and The Rumour - Dont Ask Me Questions.

(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting 07854-655009

PS As usual, if there are subjects you might like me to tackle on this blog, please get in touch and let me know!

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