Delivering consistently excellent services to residents will form an important part of Accent’s new Corporate Strategy. We asked residents what mix of skills, behaviours and aptitudes Accent’s Housing Officers and Repairs Surveyors require in order to deliver great customer service.

The survey was complemented by a focus-group of Housing Officers and Repairs Surveyors to determine what barriers they face to carrying out their roles to the best of their abilities. Findings were as follows:

Residents were generally satisfied with the services they received from their Housing Officers and Repairs Surveyors, particularly if they had dealt with their enquiry quickly and effectively – however some issues were not being dealt with at the first point of contact, in our Contact Centre. Staff too, felt that communication between the Contact Centre and front-line officers could be better.

For this reason, we will continue to monitor both residents’ and staff experiences in dealing with the Contact Centre, to ensure a more consistent and seamless service. We will also appoint three Quality Coaches in our Contact Centre to focus on developing the skills and knowledge of our Customer Service Advisors. Our coaches will motivate and guide advisors through coaching, call quality monitoring and continuous training.

Loyal residents who look after their homes and adhere to the conditions of the tenancy feel that Accent forgets about them. Staff too were frustrated that they could not give these residents the attention they deserve because much of their time is spent dealing with residents with higher support needs. As such, we are considering how we can retain and reward residents, perhaps by offering incentives.

Lack of communication and failure to keep customers informed was highlighted as a concern for residents. Staff too felt that bureaucracy and overly complicated systems and processes were hindering them in delivering the best possible customer service. As such, we will review our systems, policies and procedures to see if they could be simplified. This should give staff more time to deliver what residents actually want and expect from us.

Staff felt that they were being monitored more on their performance (for example; collecting rent, dealing with anti-social behaviour and complaints) than on the quality of service they actually deliver. We will review our front-line officers’ job descriptions to ensure that they reflect our new Corporate Strategy and our aspiration to deliver excellent customer services and meet the diverse range of needs of our residents.

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