Friday, 11 December 2015

Contact

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Last week I had an enjoyable day at one of the business suites at Old Trafford, with a view of the half ryegrass & half artificial pitch, getting a healthy suntan. It was the inaugural meeting of the Tenant Management Forum, organised by that good egg John Doyle, of the Housing Contact Company.


I am a massive fan of events like this, that bring together a number of organisations to share what they are doing, and how they tackle common problems in different ways. This is the second of these types of events, where I have participated on a panel. This one was great and I think I have met some new friends, who are attacking areas like arrears and satisfaction in some new ways.

A theme of the whole event was 'contact'. the solution that was being used by many is an automated contact platform. Platforms that help you dial a number, have been about since the 1990's, this goes one step further by automatically engaging and creating the incoming call. Bad numbers are also returned to users, so data can be easily updated (or chased) from the customer service centre. Sometimes more easily said than done that one, you might say. Much of our efficiency does turn on accurate contact details though.

A number of areas were discussed, including if in social housing we are commercial enough. Barry Marlow was on hand to agree that we were not quite hitting the spot with that and mixing it with a social heart. Often our board members and chief execs are the barriers to acting more commercial it seems. Some users of Call2collect are managing to attach Former Tenant Arrears in a very commercial manner, with the example of over 35% increase in collection at Riverside.

I have found that staff are often reluctant to pursue arrears, against official policy and often to the consternation of managers. Rachael Watson from Riverside was an extremely interesting speaker and it was clear, the extra challenges a large organisation like that, have to manage. Something like Call2collect or any new application can make that job easier, as staff have a new reason to adapt if its newly being introduced. Managers who use this argument fast, make quicker inroads in my experience.

Call2survey allows satisfaction to be zoomed in on too. Clearly ramping up response rates from 5-7% up to 32% and above, provides a number of opportunities to capture problems. This can increase the number of complaints logged, which sounds counter-intuitive.  This just reflects that many complaints and issues with repairs and customer service, were not originally being logged. It was clear that organisations, such as Accent and Adactus were using the exercise to nail problems and improve service. Better service equals lower costs, better to get things right first time, with maximum efficiency.

I seriously hope this is one of many Tenant Management Forum events going forward. With a great group of people in the sector exchanging ideas and best practice, these will be of great value for the future. See you next time! 

Find out more about the Housing Contact Company here - http://www.housingcontact.co.uk/

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Related Post: Has your organisation discovered Yammer yet? 
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Edwin Starr - ContactEdwin Starr - Contact.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009


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