How to Put Customers First

Our second Breakfast Briefing of Season 3 with Gail TeasdaleChief Executive at Broadacres Housing, gave some unique insights on customer engagement and placing customers at the heart of decision making. 

Change is in the air thanks to the Social Housing White Paper (November 2020) and the NHF Code of Governance 2020.

Specifically, “we want housing associations to build yet more homes and to deliver their mission
of charitable purpose combined with the best customer service of the private sector.”

Therefore, customer satisfaction, service and experience will become more and more relevant in council-owned housing.

So, are we making decisions that put customers first? Particularly, how do we do it and how do we know we are doing it right?

 

Gail Teasdale, Chief Executive at Broadacres Housing, gives the highlights to a better customer experience pointing out practical solutions

The Stumbling Blocks

Let us clarify what customer engagement really is and how it looks like. The term is used to refer to the different ways our customers can model and shape our services.

Consequently, customer involvement is key. Moreover, offering customers a wider range of opportunities to engage with us while removing barriers is central to any housing association.

Principally, the major customer-related challenges that our sector is facing now are:

  • Increased regulatory focus – with media campaigns about to happen that will rightly be informing customer on how to make complaints
  • Digital communication – ensuring the right communication channel for the challenge a customer is facing.
  • Never-ending feedback – not only complaints but also through unstructured feedback in contact conversations that can get lost along the way. All those phone calls and emails are ‘gold dust’
  • Restricted budgets – with the entire sector under budget pressures

Customer engagement will alway be at the heart of social housing

Customer Engagement and Satisfaction

As Gail said, “success with your customer is success for your organisation.”

Unquestionably, customer engagement is a strategic priority.

For Broadacres, solutions are value-driven to make change stick. For example:

  1. Emphasizing ALL regulatory just the Governance and Viability standards – Board annually scrutinise compliance with consumer standards as well as the value for money report and governance report.
  2. Setting up a Customer Experience (CX) committee– not only talking about policies and procedures but also measuring “how you make people feel”.
  3. Developing new KPIs – placing more value on customer-based indicators and measuring things that matter. If you keep measuring the same things you are likely to get the same outcomes.
  4. Leaning from complaints– breaking into the complaints cycle by talking about individual experiences and feedback from customers and the team to improve overall practice. True lessons learned assessments.
  5. Investing in the team– a motivated team is the root of a stronger CX.
  6. Challenging the workflow – understanding where processes fall short when different people engage with customers at different times.
  7. Keeping the conversation going– still talking to customers, team members, and improving practice. According to Gail, how we use “language really matters”. “Having this mindset will build long-term trust with customers” and help the organisation in the long run, she stated.

How are we contributing to maintaining our teams and customers happy? “It’s about simple, small things”, said Gail.

Every Effort Counts

Customer engagement, research, and overall experience will have to improve with a dynamic environment and regulatory emphasis.

Golden Marzipan is passionate about ICT governance in the housing sector, considering it one of the main digital trends for this 2021. Please, get in touch if you want us to make it possible for your organisation.

Lastly, if you would like to discuss any of the items raised in this blog, contact steve@goldenmarzipan.co.uk

 

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