Our customers' involvement makes a huge difference to the services that we provide to you and our communities – read some of their successes below.
If you want to get involved, find out more about our various opportunities available here.
Improving our services:
Our consultation group had their say on 5 business practices – communications during the coronavirus lockdown, our chatbot, preferred payment methods, customer importance of services and our grounds maintenance and caretaking webpages. They:
- Helped us to shape our communications approach during coronavirus lockdown, voting that we should contact customers when we have key announcements or changes to our services.
- Enabled us to make some improvements to our chatbot design, so customers are better guided to the answers they’re seeking.
- Suggested that some of our payment methods such as paying over the phone were difficult. So, we’re using their feedback to make improvements so they’re simpler and easier to use.
Customers reviewed 10 policies, including our Housing Management, Lettings, Complaints and Compensation policies.
- Customers gave each policy a understanding score to help us to ensure our policies are easy for customer to understand and highlighted areas where we could make improvements by removing abbreviations and adding definitions and examples.
- Customers also suggested that we added and clarified certain information on some of the policies to make the process clearer for customers. For example, customers gave feedback on our complaints policy that we need to be more proactive in updating customers on their complaint. We’ve added the following statement: ‘We’ll aim to provide updates once a week during the investigation, unless less frequent contact is preferred.’
We’ve worked with customers in our coronavirus lockdown group on 8 live events and the topics included: communication, repairs, customer experience, understanding customer priorities, our approach over winter, our approach to Lockdown 3 and the new social housing white paper.
- Like many other housing associations, when lockdown came into force in March 2020, we had lots of repairs booked but were unable to deliver them due to government restrictions. The group helped us identify the best option for handling the backlog and following their guidance we agreed to prioritise those repairs that are likely to get worse first, rather than those reported first. We also agreed how best to communicate this.
- You can find out more about the difference their feedback has made and view recording of our most recent live event on the Coronavirus customer guidance group page.
Our Procurement Group worked on a kitchen procurement project, giving customers that chance to have their say on our process of fitting a new kitchen. Following their feedback, we:
- Introduced more modern items including new flooring, sockets, splashbacks, worktops and the option of larder units to provide more storage.
- We also worked with two customers throughout 2020 in our tender process for our new kitchen supplier, to ensure customer’s views were heard throughout.
Making a difference in your neighbourhood
Due to coronavirus restrictions, our neighbourhood volunteers not been able to deliver estate inspections with our neighbourhood officers. And our resident groups have not been able to meet face-to-face. But we celebrated their achievements at our annual get together in March 2020. Here are some of their achievements from April 2019 – March 2020:
Our neighbourhood volunteers:
- Completed 211 neighbourhood walkabouts
- Volunteered 143 hours of their time
- Reported 586 issues including:
- 80 grounds maintenance issues
- 119 caretaking issues
- 135 communal repairs
- 29 health and safety issues
- 64 incidents of fly tipping
Our resident groups:
- Made improvements to the communal safety and security of blocks
- Added benches and planted trees in some of their communities
- Made changes to communal garden areas
- Helped improve communication with us
- Arranged various social events
Help to shape our services as a Board or Committee member
VIVID Impact has been supporting us to develop new involvement and engagement opportunities, including recruiting and supporting new members to their panel. They’ve informed our lockdown service delivery plans, tested our new platforms for customer engagement and continue to support us to ensure that the customer voice is accounted for in our service reviews.
Our VIVID Plus board members have identified projects for investment, which means next year we’ll be able to work in partnership with:
- Outcome Home, to continue peer mentoring for those who may struggle to sustain a tenancy, through life skills, poor mental health or substance abuse
- Changing Direction for Future Success with Eastleigh Borough Council Community Safety team, to support young people to make good choices and plans for the future, reducing their risk of being not engaged in education, employment or training. And of being exploited and from getting drawn into the criminal justice system.
We will update you further on these projects later this year.
And finally, the customer members of our Customer Service Committee had the opportunity to comment and influence our new service strategy and customer engagement strategy before final approval. They also provided feedback on the repairs service review and also reviewed our key performance indicators and reviewed our approach to benchmarking.