Since the National Housing Prime contract commenced in 2015, Amey’s Defence teams have been working hard to improve the service provided to our Service personnel and their families. Over the last few years, we’ve focused our efforts on reducing the number of customer complaints by introducing initiatives such as improved training for our employees and supply chain partners, actively performance managing ourselves and our contractors and continuously challenging processes to find more effective ways of working.
These initiatives have had a direct and positive impact on our customer service and in March 2019, we saw the lowest recorded level of complaints since 2015 with a reduction of 45% within a two year period, representing a 1.3% complaint rate against the contract target of 1.5%.
Our commitment to further reduce complaints
Spurred on by this success we have committed to reducing this figure even further and earlier this year embarked on an improvement journey that involved Amey’s operational teams and representatives from our supply chain partners. We worked with Housing Specialists who supported two workshops known as ‘Kaizen Blitz’ which helped us to drill down into our complaint data and identify exactly where service delivery was failing. We found that the highest number of complaints were around the volume of response orders raised after Move In and the time taken to resolve multi-trade, multi-visit response maintenance tasks. Armed with this information, we created an improvement plan to reduce customer complaints by a third through the successful implementation of workflow improvement and appropriate behavioural change, both underpinned by relevant, cost effective technology developments.
From our Accommodation Officers who move our customers in and out of their properties to our Customer Service Centre Advisors who answer the phones, we’ve involved each and every one of them in our plan. We’ve collaborated with our contractors and learnt more about the tasks they carry out each day and engaged with a local family so we could really understand the impact that poor customer service has on them.
Creating the step-change
Over the last two weeks, 98 employees who engage directly with our customers attended a two day intensive training course with a real focus on promoting a ‘one-team’ culture across the business. In order to bring the changes that the Kaizen workshops identified as ‘improvements to the lived experience’, we provided them with a variety of quick reference materials to make it easier for them to prevent issues arising and to answer customer questions. Empowering them to take ownership of their work should give them the confidence to make informed decisions when resolving issues. Guidance videos and training refresher courses have been developed to ensure everyone understands their role and how they can directly influence and drive change by continuously improving their performance, putting pride back into their work.
Laura Ryan, Amey’s CSC Team Manager, attended the training and said “The sessions were great and we really feel that our voices are being heard. We’ve experienced a lot of the same issues over the years and by working closely with our contractors and agreeing a joint set of objectives it’s a relief to know we are on the same page and both working for the good of our customers.”
Tom Silvey, Amey’s Operations Director (Housing) added “The brainstorming, testing and trials have come to an end and we are now ready to make the change and implement our new ways of working so Service families may enjoy an improved quality of service and we achieve our objective to reduce customer complaints by a third. This is the next exciting phase of our continuous improvement journey and I look forward to seeing the trend of complaints fall and customer satisfaction improve.”
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