Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Time Is The Key (when Gas Servicing)

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I usually encounter gas service process at least four times a year, when working with various clients. It's a tricky one, always a hot potato as your chief exec can go to prison for it, if not managed adequately.

In these austere times, its one area then, where we might be reluctant to tinker with it, in case we degrade service. Dealing with it in a smarter fashion, we might actually be able to improve service, reduce staff time and save money, which could be deployed elsewhere.
Using some sample stats from a 21,000 unit RSL, it paints a picture which is probably replicated across many other landlords.

Where costs are being incurred for no-access and the admin/letters generated to manage the process, a third of your gas services, could actually be soaking up 56% of the budget. Having the figures to analyse is half the battle, but clearly reducing the number of customers who do not allow you in first visit, is going to produce a significant saving.

Over 21,000 units here, if we could reduce the number of customers requiring more than one visit by just a third, we would make savings of close to a quarter of a million pounds annually. (a third of the difference between basic & real cost £742,637 is £247,545).

The number of gas services requiring more than one visit, will be on the increase as we have a greater mix of shared owners. Most of these are at work during the week and are unlikely to be in during the usual social housing hours, we are used to keeping. Rather than setting up out of hours and weekend appointments as exceptions, only after letter 2 of the gas process has been generated, we should be considering them as a first appointment. This might get us the holy grail of a gas service first time, and improve customer service perception too!

Now a few DLO managers will have their head in their hands at this point, oh-the overtime bill!
Well, how much overtime could we buy for £0.25m? Also, the other tool at our disposal, if we can turn our data into clear information, is our service history. Basic analysis of even just the last CP12 certificate date and time if we have it, can yield some serious insights. If we complete certs by mobile, we will most likely have both date and time. So, we know if we completed each in normal working hours or on weekday.

A profile view of our tenant based on previous gas service behaviour, can help us schedule our initial appointment with a greater chance of first time success. Targeting tenants with a previous history of only being available outside normal working hours, we can save many times the cost of a gas service, perhaps undertaken at time and a half. There is probably a case for considering flexible working patterns for gas engineers. Many might welcome this flexibility and incentives could be used to further improve productivity.

This logic driven approach will be far more effective than just starting the service cycle, two weeks earlier, in reducing costs and increasing efficiency. Insight for gas service should not be seen in isolation, other data can easily feed into this area. As tenants retire, have recorded vulnerabilities or move into work, these can all drive the targeting of that first gas service appointment. In addition, repeated no-access from a new tenant, might indicate other factors, such as a safeguarding issue, crime or potential illegal sub-letting.

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Pierre Moerlen's Gong - Time Is The KeyPierre Moerlen's Gong - Time Is The Key.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting 07854-655009

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