Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Your Call - So Good

If you do the Twitter thing, follow me at @hotpixUK
or LinkedIn here uk.linkedin.com/pub/tony-smith-bsc-hons-acih/a/979/351/

A big deserved thank you for OmFax and St Leger Homes in Doncaster, for inviting me to host the 'YourCall' event last week. I always enjoy meeting and chatting to the incredible staff and managers, delivering excellent customer services in the social housing sector.

This 'Your Call' event was a cracker, really interesting with some varied opinions, starting straight after the breakfast pastries and coffee. The event was attended by a great group, including from St Leger (natch!), A1 Housing in Worksop, Astraline (who provide out of hours services), Berneslai Homes  in Barnsley, WDH in Wakefield, Newark & Sherwood and Ongo in Scunthorpe.

First up after the stats from the 'Your Call' survey was revealed, ( you can still register your thoughts via the link on http://tonysmiththathousingitguy.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/say-something-about-state-of-social.html ), was a discussion on the diversification of channels. Everyone these days want to channel shift, offer cheaper 24/7 service online. But what does it mean for the traditional customer service team?

Well Twitter and social media raised its head, increasingly a method that customers are using to contact & express opinions about the social landlords in the group. For some just a 9to5 Twitter prescience was enough. Most were all experiencing some levels of added commercialisation and some were experiencing group expansion. These brought their own challenges and the creation of waste in the customer service centre. Often it was in-complete integration  that created problems. That old chestnut, data not held in a single place, presenting information to customer service staff.

One other issue cited was incomplete channel shift or a partial implementation that actually doubled up tasks. Examples are when a website form can be completed at any time 24/7, but arrives as an email, for customer services to key into another system, the following morning. I recalled my experience of the Halifax online bank 'IF' from 1999, doing just that. Spookily enough, one of the attendees still had an 'IF' (Intelligent Finance) account. I bet the Halifax have managed to integrate it all properly by now!

On the subject of personalisation of service, all agreed that one of the tricks was to recruit for attitude not knowledge. One RSL tried its best to recruit staff from its resident bodies. An absolutely brilliant idea. The better integrated systems seemed to make it easier to personalise. often a CRM module was badly synchronised with back-end housing systems. This can lead to duplicate contacts, data spread across many places or completely missing in action sometimes.

To empower staff to be able to deliver expert service, some attendees utilised work shadowing, to see the effect on other staff. Seeing the process as a long customer journey was seen as useful and had informed front & back-end staff as to the importance of each step as being part of delivering excellence. Failures generate waste calls and small changes, such as automated texts and keeping customers/tenants informed, can significantly reduce waste.       

So, all in all a very interesting morning indeed. I hope Peter Graddon & Omfax will be continuing the 'Your Call' idea into the future. A great way to exchange great ideas, issues and best practice.

Related Post: Does Mobile or Channel Shift often mean doing everything twice?


I would be pleased to connect with you on LinkedIn - http://uk.linkedin.com/in/tonysmiththathousingitguy Message me with any issues or queries, you would like to be explored in this blog. We generally receive a couple of suggestions each month.

Joy Zipper - You're So GoodJoy Zipper - You're So Good.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009

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