Living in Your Home – priorities July/August 2011



How are we performing right now?

  • 8.1 customers out 10 feel their home works for them – which is slightly less than last quarter.
  • Gas Serving & Repairs scores have improved quite significantly with real positive comments from customers.
  • Satisfaction with New Homes has dipped from 100%. Due to economic climate we are not building as many new houses and therefore asking fewer people. With smaller numbers, any negative comments have a bigger impact. Catherine Wisdom has agreed to be a Development Champion and attend meetings alongside colleagues from other areas of the business with the Development team to discuss experiences, issues and improvement that they have come across regarding new builds.

Progress against projects and plans

Tenant Cashback Pilot

  • Alex Dixon advised that Bromford have agreed to take part in the National Housing Federation’s (NHF) Tenant Cashback Pilot and that it will be launching in October. It will be aimed at around 200 customers in 3-4 urban areas offering a cash back of £300 for those customers that do their own repairs (there will be guidelines on what can and can’t be done) for a year and an extra £200 for those that do not use the Housing Management service, dealing with low level issues themselves. For repairs – a customer would have an Annual Property Service (APS); then for 12 months do any repairs themselves (we will do what we are still responsible for i.e. gas; electrical; work from height etc.). After the 12 months, we would complete another APS and if the pilot has worked, there should be zero repairs.
  • We will be referring customers to an online suite of ‘how to’ videos, showing customers how to do minor repairs.

New Bromford Deal

  • The draft Bromford Deal was shared with the Group and will be launched early next year. This has been developed with customers with the intention of getting better understanding of how the service relationship between tenant and landlord should work. To enable us to support some of the Deal – the repairs team will film a walk through of the property with the new customer at the start of the tenancy. This will depict the standard of the property at the start.
  • It was noted that there is not a section for what customers are expected to do on the VfM part of the deal. This could include customers doing their own repairs, enabling the Group to offer better VfM.

Re-tender of the Repairs contract

  • Alex is currently working closely with the group to decide what and how we procure when the current contract comes to an end.
    • What we procure? We are looking to procure an APS led service contract including empty homes and some responsive repairs.
    • How we procure? There are three options; a large organisation to undertake it all; break the stock up into 3 or 4 smaller areas with smaller contractors for each area; or keep it within our in-house team.

  Improving Annual Property Service (APS) Access

  • The Bromford Deal and Tenancy Contract stipulates that a requirement of being a Bromford customer is they must allow us access once a year. We must achieve this and will need Housing Managers and Support colleagues to ask those customers that still refuse why. The Group felt the language in the Deal needs to be sterner – stating ‘when we come to do an APS’ rather than asking ‘can we come’.
  • The Group questioned whether APS could be done the same day as a Gas Service which Alex advised they are looking into. This would include electrical inspections and other annual checks, minimising the impact on customers and having to stay in for one day rather than 5.
  • It was felt that once the video of an APS goes onto our website, it should encourage customers to take part as at present there may be confusion about what it is. Helen Lloyd is working with the Repairs team to set this recording up.

  Any other business

  • Mike Stevenson questioned whether we have gathered any corporate nectar points following our deal with Dulux and customer paint vouchers. As Mike agreed to maintain communication with Di Middleton, he will check to see how much has been accumulated and what we can spend the points on. The Group agreed it would be good to spend it supporting social enterprise.


What Sky could learn from Amazon

Working at home today. Not that I wanted to – but I finally got an engineer out after two weeks of complaining to Sky about a regular drop out with my broadband. The people I’ve dealt with at Sky have been pretty much great and really helpful. Apart from the self test diagnostics they get you to do at the beginning of every call. I’m now happily conversant with what a micro-filter is – how to find a test socket for your broadband – and every single inch of a router.

But despite the people on the customer service team being friendly and willing to help – theres a major problem. Nothing happens next.

The experience has been the total opposite of dealing with Amazon.

My Kindle broke on holiday. One self test via the web and I was promised a call back which came 3 minutes later. First thing they said was ” I hope the experience hasn’t affected your holiday – lets make the priority getting a new one to you and we will sort out the other stuff later.”  And 18 hours later I had a new Kindle.

Now I know its a lot easier to get a new Kindle out to you than fix a broadband problem. But seamless service is common sense and the things Sky could learn from Amazon here are:

Don’t shift ownership onto the customer to fix the problem – take ownership and sort it. 

Don’t let them chase you.

Prevent the customer from keep calling you by getting it right first time.

And after 14 days and 10 phone calls – I have broadband…..

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