08 February 2012
Summary of our commitment to engage with customers in a meaningful way
1. Customer Engagement, our values and vision
We recognise that engagement of customers is vital to the success of our organisation, which is why we are developing a variety of new ways for customers to influence services at a local and strategic level.
Our customer engagement framework details our vision for customer engagement, where the organisation is now and where the organisation wants to be over the next three years. It sets out priorities for customer engagement and how they will be achieved.
Our vision is “to be the leading independent black led housing provider in the UK delivering a range of services which are unsurpassed in the community.”
Our mission is “to build successful diverse communities by providing housing and culturally sensitive services to our current and future customers.”
One of our values is “Customer Focus”: “we will endeavour to keep our residents happy and contented.”
This Customer Engagement Framework demonstrates this commitment to engaging customers in shaping services and driving through service improvements.
2. What do we mean by customer?
‘Customer’ includes anyone who uses our services. This includes tenants, leaseholders, people who receive support, homeowners, people who join our waiting list and those who live in our Communities.
We have made a conscious decision to refocus and rename the Resident Involvement service ‘Customer Engagement’, to embed respect for all our service users as ‘customers’.
Engaging customers is not an end in itself. We want to deliver outcomes which customers tell us they want and need. There is a strong business case for customer engagement. Customers are the best people to tell us how we are doing.
3. Work in progress
The Framework has been developed to confirm our actions in the short and medium term. It covers a three year period from 2011/12 to 2014/5.
The Framework will be reviewed and updated at the end of each year, when we complete an Impact assessment of what we have achieved and changed.
The Framework will be accompanied by an action plan, which will drive positive change.
4. Why we want to increase Customer Engagement
Involving customers in influencing service delivery is vital to obtain an understanding of their needs and aspirations, and to constantly enhance and improve services.
There are wider benefits to customer engagement, including improving our services, homes and communities and developing individual customer skills for life and work.
We aim to engage more customers in any way which meets their available time and interest. We will develop a pool of customers we can draw on from time to time, who will commit to help us shape our services. We want 1 in 10 tenants to engage with us.
By involving customers at the heart of the decisions we make, we will:
- Increase customer satisfaction
- Enhance our accountability
- Ensure policies and decisions meet the needs of customers
- Ensure customers understand their services
- Embed continuous improvement in service delivery
- Improve community cohesion
- Comply with regulatory and statutory requirements.
5. Organisational Context
Nehemiah UCHA is a progressive housing association with a portfolio of 1000 homes, serving a multi-cultural African Caribbean, Asian and European communities across the West Midlands conurbation. The Association provides homes to single people, families, couple and older people in Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton.
Nehemiah UCHA is serving communities and aims to build thriving social units in which people from all ethnic backgrounds feel at home and valued.
Overall, customers are satisfied with our services.
Our year end performance of 2009/10 demonstrates a satisfaction across all service areas:
- The return rate of General Need Status Survey was 17% (Status Survey 2009)
- Overall satisfaction, 91% (Status)
- Satisfaction with their views taken into account, 64% (Status).
- New tenant satisfaction with the landlord, 100% (Annual Report 2011)
- Satisfaction with repairs, 98% (Annual Report 2011)
Given our dispersed stock, we need to find better ways to engage with our diverse customer base, to discuss and agree changes to the ways we work. We feel the best way to achieve this is to form a Customer Consultative Committee, who meet no less than 4 times a year to challenge us to improve our services.
Our repairs and improvements are important to customers; we want to improve engagement in these services. We propose setting up a new Property Improvement Committee. The Committee will influence expenditure, consider contractor procurement and performance, help us prioritise our repairs, maintenance and improvements and to help us develop the delivery of Tenant cashback
We will support those tenants who wish to form local groups, to improve the lives and homes of our customers. We will work with other landlords to help to support customer engagement structures in areas which support our tenants.
We already have customers on our Board and Committees and are proud of the contribution they make. We want to boost their training and support to enable them to be more confident to help us to make decisions. A representative from our Customer Consultative Committee and our Property Improvement Committee will be invited to attend our Operations Committee; we hope to encourage their interest in becoming future Board/Committee members.
We also want to capture customer volunteers who will give us one off advice by e mail or phone, or maybe attend just one meeting to help us improve our services. We want 100 of our tenants to be involved and so we are calling this new group our 100 club.
6. Aims of our Customer Engagement Framework
We reviewed the mechanisms for engaging customers. We have a very small number of engaged customers. We know we need to improve. We aim to improve and then excel in customer engagement and in so doing, be at the forefront of best practice.
We have developed a sensible and extensive ‘menu of engagement’ to enable customers to participate at the level they choose, which caters for a variety of personal circumstances.
The aims of the Customer Engagement Framework are:
a) To provide a variety of ways for customers to engage, in a way and at a level that suits their interests and their available time as volunteers
b) To have an active and properly supported customer engagement structure including a menu of choices for engagement
c) To provide customers with regular high-quality information, in appropriate formats and give customers opportunities to influence how our services are delivered.
d) For customers to be satisfied with opportunities to influence, decision-making and service delivery.
e) To involve customers in a way that achieves continuous improvement and demonstrates value for money.
f) To provide customers with access to high quality training to develop their confidence and skills not only to engage with us, but to equip them with skills for life and work.
g) To enable customers to hold our board and staff to account in delivering services and in delivering this Framework.
7. Our Plans for 2012
We have reviewed where we are, where we want to be and have listed the actions we need to take to close gaps identified.
We currently invest £50-60k per annum on customer engagement (including surveys). Our intention is to continue to deliver the same investment and to work with our customers to get more outcomes from this investment.
In 2012 we will:
- Start a mystery shoppers project
- Commission a customer satisfaction survey
- Review our approach to tenant scrutiny
- Improve the capture of customer feedback, by involving customers in designing new tenant surveys, anti-social behaviour surveys, repair and improvement surveys and our whole customer survey
- Recruit and train a Customer Consultative Committee (CCC), which can review our local offers, service standards and services, as well as the results we collect from our feedback and our performance.
- Recruit and train a Property Improvement Committee (PIC) which can review our offer relating to repairs and consider tenant cash back and other initiatives around repairs and our property improvements. The PIC will consider the recruitment of customers as empty property auditors and our performance on repairs.
- Identify tenants who might be available by phone call or e mail to give us advice and one off support as members of our new 100 club, customers who will help us through task and finish groups, one off surveys, feedback using social media
- Report results of our engagement to staff and customers in a “you said, we did” feature in our newsletter and also on staff notice boards
10. Responsibility & monitoring our promises
Overall responsibility sits with our Customer Engagement Post and Director of Housing & Care Services.
The implementation of the Framework will be monitored through the following methods:
Customer Consultative Committee
Thank you for your interest in our commitment to tenants
Director of Housing and Care Services