or LinkedIn here https://uk.linkedin.com/in/tonysmiththathousingitguy
Spookily, in the last day or so, I got caught up in a Twitter thread, mainly involving residents, about satisfaction statistics.
Can they be believed, are they always fudged or massaged? If so, surely to the benefit of landlords and housing associations. That seemed to be the common belief, when from what I tend to come across in real life, introducing systems to collect such data, that is not generally the case.
We are in a world currently where we seem to be over-surveyed.
Every time I do a supermarket shop, the bottom of my till receipt urges me to go on line, tell us how we did and have a one-in-ten thousand chance of winning a £200 voucher, to do yet more shopping.
We all make choices via TripAdvisor don’t we?
On eBay and AirB&B, we rate each other. Sometimes its crucial, otherwise we have no accumulated trust or kudos and cannot easily make that sale or purchase. In many cases though, it’s not mandatory and we see no value in it, except maybe to complain.
In socialhousing, its mandatory or accepted that landlords should make attempts to collect satisfaction feedback, but not actually for residents to engage and provide it. This can be improved where reward schemes are in use, but the first step I find with certain landlords, is understanding the benefits of seeing decent quantities of satisfaction and dissatisfaction feedback. Certain landlords, such as HomesInSedgemoor, have shaped the whole repairs service around a lot of that feedback. They now mainly do as many repairs as practical, same day, at no increased cost.
So, why do residents think that the exercise does not take place, or the published figures (and they should be in annual reports or the like), do not seem to reflect reality?
Firstly, some thoughts on how satisfaction should be collected, is needed. The residents opinion, not the contractors is needed. Contractors should not be allowed or encouraged to ‘mark their own homework’. Pushing a reply paid satisfaction card through, or dropping one off, after the work is a fairly passive & expensive way of soliciting feedback. These days if the resident self-serves online, they could receive an email straight after the job completion is updated, with a direct link to a survey for that job. There it can be simply rated & a complaint or a complement raised.
For non-self servers, a scheduled automatic text or call, just requiring a simple key press (for satisfied or not), cheaply can do the job.
For landlords, reducing reliance on manual procedures, Excel spreadsheets, or five bar gates & the like, and integrating satisfaction to real tasks (repair and others), logged in an integrated system is key. This allows reports to be drawn right out of the system, providing a single version of the truth, (no sugar, butter & milk, those ingredients of fudge required). There are plenty of systems I see and help RSLs choose & implement, well capable of this.
Often landlords waste so much time chasing & collating satisfaction figures, they never have opportunity or resource to examine for insights. With ICT systems doing the easy legwork, the insights can be garnered in conjunction with residents, to better understand and improve service. I sometimes laugh when the odd landlord says there is no budget to spend on that. The sad truth is that if service (repairs or otherwise) is improved, it saves money, as we get it right, first time around. That can only lead to higher satisfaction, so a virtuous circle, as they say!
If you are grappling with poor systems for collating satisfaction data, feel free to get in touch!
If you are considering self-service, see you in October, at a new special conference
Related Post: Your software suppliers may be more charitable, than you think!
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The Fall - I’m Not Satisfied.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009
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