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Improving our repairs service with the help of customers

11 June 2024

We recently undertook a scrutiny review with a focus on our repairs service, and we want to let you know how it went. The focus of this review was to do a deep dive into the factors that cause repairs to be prolonged with multiple visits made by contractors, and customers having to call or email to chase the progress of the repair or repairs. The aim was to find ways to minimise this.

We promoted the opportunity to take part in this repairs scrutiny review by emailing all customers in late February and the project ran from April to June 2024. There were 10 customers who joined this repairs scrutiny panel - there were various activities for them to take part in and several opportunities to provide feedback and recommendations.

The various activities that took place were:

  • Repairs line contact centre shadowing

Spending time at our office in Ware Road, Hertford to observe Customer Service Advisors (CSAs) navigate systems, raise repairs and ask customers questions to ensure they get the correct diagnosis at the first point of raising their repairs.

  • Repairs planner shadowing

Spending time at our Ware Road office to observe our repairs contractor MCP’s planners manage their workloads. This includes how they manage the operatives’ diaries, and how they liaise with customers when having to move appointments.

  • Repairs contractor ride along

One customer joined an MCP operative for a morning of repairs jobs, observing how he worked and spoke to customers. This highlighted how contractors conduct themselves in customers’ homes, and what information they give customers before leaving their home.

  • Resident and colleague Q&A

This was an opportunity for customers to attend an online meeting to ask colleagues from our Asset Management team and MCP questions about their processes. It was also an opportunity to politely challenge on areas of service that could be improved.

  • Case study review

This was a lessons learned exercise where customers received real responses to repairs complaints. Customers told us what they thought of the language used and the tone of the letters- and if they felt that the compensations/ conclusion was fair and proportionate.

The outcome

The key feedback from the project was:

  • Customers reviewing the case studies felt that the tone and language used in the complaint response letters was fair.
  • They also felt that the compensation policy was acceptable.
  • The customer who attended shadowing sessions with a repairs CSA found them to be knowledgeable and had a very good understanding of the systems they used.
  • The same customer attended a shadowing session to observe MCP planners in action. She didn’t get a chance to observe the planners as she ended up shadowing their supervisor. She was shown the systems and given a good understanding of their ways of working but it was felt that this was very much a missed opportunity, and further opportunities must be given to customers to shadow the planners in their normal ways of working.
  • The feedback from the repairs contractor ride along was very good. It was noted that he was respectful, conscientious, and hard working.
  • It was also noted however, that customers had been told various things by various MCP representatives, and this led to a lot of confusion and follow up phone calls.
  • It was also suggested that MCP should be responsible for responding to complaints about the service they provide, rather than complaints being investigated and responded to by our complaints team at SNG.

What happens next?

These findings have been summarised into a report and recommendations made by the customers on the repairs scrutiny panel will be presented to our Asset Management Team. We’ll also use the results from this project to carry out further scrutiny projects and mystery shopping activities of our services, so that more customers can be involved in monitoring the quality of our services and making suggestions for improvements.

If you’d like to be involved in future projects like this and have an impact on the services we provide, get in touch with our Resident Engagement team by emailing get-involved@networkhomes.org.uk

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