Does a rise in complaints mean a better customer experience? This was one of the topics we debated recently at our discussion event “Improving Customer Experience in Housing.” Katie Gilmartin, Head of Business Development and Innovation, at Platform Housing Group suggested that if customers have the right accesible touchpoints to access housing providers and feel empowered to speak up, that could mean that your CX is thriving.
Also on the panel were Paul Harris, Executive Director from Curo, Nick Horne, CEO at Wythenshawe Community Housing and Nick Paul, Managing Consultant and Housing Sector Lead at Nine Feet Tall. The panel came together to explore the challenges faced when delivering a good customer experience. You can watch a recording of the discussion here.
All the panellists agreed that customers are complex and not simply one homogeneous group, therefore treating them as individuals and understanding there may be differing levels of willingness to engage can help to provide a strong customer experience. This means making sure there are a diverse range of touchpoints for customers to interact with the organisation rather than one blanket approach. Paul Harris stressed the need to make “evidence based decisions.”
Nick Horne spoke about gathering customer intelligence, to help organisations look through the eye of the customer and understand their experience, by saying: “Never ignore the eyes and ears of the community.” Nick went on to outline the “Magnificent 7” principles they are employing at Wythenshawe for engaging with customer groups. These included having an effective governance structure which includes all stakeholders (board members, tenants, lease holders and the wider community,) having tenant consultation structures, running informal engagement events to meet customers, service inspection and scrutiny structures and digital engagement.
The discussion also included thoughts on technology and innovation. Nick Paul explained innovation as problem solving and, quite simply, making people feel safe and comfortable with the idea of change, failure and technology. He stressed that organisations will struggle to move forward if they aren’t exploring how innovation fits within their culture. Paul Harris echoed this and said organisations need to make sure there is less bureaucracy, to allow for decentralised decision making and empowerment within teams to problem solve.
If you think your customer experience strategy needs an overhaul or just fine tuning, get in touch today for us to come and help run an assessment.