BLOG: Making our contact centre service more efficient
01 December 2022
Welcome to Behind the stats, our blog series breaking down what our performance statistics and targets mean, and how they impact you and your home. These blogs will be written by the teams who work with these statistics, so you can find out more about the work they do as well as the relationship between our targets, your homes and the services you receive. This blog is all about the work our contact centre does to resolve your enquiries the first time you contact us. It is written by Sophie O’Sullivan, our Senior Resident Experience Manager.
The contact centre is residents’ first point of contact for all queries. When you call, email, text, message on social media or use My Network Homes to contact to us, it's our Contact Centre teams who you speak to. So it’s really important that we get things right and provide you with the answers, solutions and updates you need.Sophie O'Sullivan, Senior Resident Experience Manager
In our recently published Annual report to residents, we reported that 77.3% of all enquiries were resolved at first contact in 2021/22. I want to delve into this figure some more and explain what this means for residents and what we’re doing in the background at the contact centre to increase the amount of enquiries we resolve the first time you contact us.
Investing in our people
Our Customer Service Advisors (CSAs) are trained extensively to support residents and have a wealth of knowledge to be able to help with your queries. We invest heavily in people who join the team.
When they join, CSAs spend two weeks in training with our dedicated Training and Quality Manager. Once they have been trained on our systems and processes, CSAs begin to answer phones and manage resident enquiries, receiving hands-on support from our Training Assistant for the first two weeks of calls. During this time, they will have regular catch ups with our Training Assistant to ensure they are settling in to the role well and have everything they need to do their job. We also monitor their performance to ensure that they are delivering a first-class quality service to you.
Improving the efficiency of our service
Over the years, we’ve worked closely with our colleagues from across Network Homes to identify some general queries that CSAs can answer and resolve as soon as residents get in touch with us. This then frees up our colleagues’ time so they can deal with more complex resident enquiries, meaning that you receive a better service as your general and more complex queries can be responded to in a quicker and more efficient way.
For example, a few years ago we worked on a project to improve how we responded to enquiries which would typically be sent to our Neighbourhood teams. This project helped to highlight any processes that needed improving so that at the contact centre, we could resolve these queries ourselves then and there, without needing to send them on to our Neighbourhood teams to get in touch with you about. We worked closely with Neighbourhood teams to ensure the CSAs had all the training, systems and knowledge they needed to answer your queries about issues like new fob requests, cleaning and ground maintenance if you live in a block and giving general information about any tenancy queries you may have. This meant Neighbourhood Officers had more time to investigate and deal with more complex issues such as anti-social behaviour. We saw an increase in the percentage of Neighbourhood cases and enquiries which were resolved by our CSA’s after this project. The project highlighted the importance of working to resolve enquiries when you first contact us, as it saves you and our colleagues time and enhances the service we’re providing.
It’s great to see that in 2021/22, our CSAs resolved 77.3% of all enquiries on first contact. However, this is a dip in performance from 2020/21 when we achieved 78.6%. This tells us that we need to continually review how we manage the service we’re providing you and constantly adapt to ensure you are getting the answers and solutions you need as soon as possible.
More statistics from our Annual Report to Residents 21/22
Using your feedback to make improvements
One of the ways we constantly review and adapt the service is by building strong working relationships across Network Homes. It’s key to work together so we can reach our collective goals of delivering reliable resident services and strengthening residents’ trust in us.
Our dedicated contact centre Reports and Performance team provide really valuable insight and statistics about your queries, which feeds into how we improve the way we operate. For example, when you contact us, we ask you to complete a customer satisfaction survey for us. Our Reports and Data Manager is responsible for collating all of your feedback and analysing it, ensuring that your feedback is then filtered to the relevant teams for them to act on. Your feedback in this survey plays a key role in informing our recommendations for wider service improvements and identifying and responding quickly to areas which need support.
What's happening going forward?
I’m really proud to be leading a new team in the contact centre which will focus on resident experience and the contact journey in order to ensure that you’re at the heart of all our processes. Our focus is on improvements we can make to support residents to have a good experience when you contact us, and to trust that we will resolve your queries. We'll be working on making it even more accessible, convenient and easy to contact us, and encouraging residents to use the many options we have available, like My Network Homes, your online account. We will continue to work with our colleagues to improve satisfaction in all areas and support you as much as we can with queries when you first call, email, text, tweet or message!