Providing great customer service
The content in this article may now be out of date. Please try searching for a more recent version.
In our first Customer Annual Review blog head of customer services, Kim Avery, takes a look back at how we’ve done to support you in areas like welfare reform, repairs and community safety. She also looks forward to how we can make things even better for you in the future.
We appreciate how challenging the general position on wages and household costs has typically been for customers over the past few years and so we hope that our help, advice and online tools for budgeting and money management have gone some way to helping you tackle those challenges.
We’ve been trying to talk to you much earlier if you have fallen behind with your rent payments as a renter or shared owner, getting a better understanding of your circumstances and putting things in place to help you along the way.
But of course, further changes are afoot and we will continue to help those of you affected prepare for the introduction of universal credit and housing benefits being paid directly to you.
We have invested in a range of services that could help you with; opening a bank or credit union account, obtaining cheap finance, saving for unexpected expenses through your rent account, understanding and managing direct debits, finding cheap white goods, helping reduce debt payments, fuel deals and running your home as efficiently as possible.
We can help you better understand how work or changing jobs will benefit you, maximise your earnings and improve your finances and we will support you through the transitional time into work or if you lose your job. Contact us if you want our advice.
We have seen a large increase in the number of you contacting us through social media and we have posted lots of help and information online to help you make the most of being a Bromford customer. We have looked at how easy we can make it for you to keep a track of your payments and will very shortly be able to take payments over the phone.
We will soon be offering more online improvements too with developments on the Bromford website that enable you to access your own tailored service from anywhere at anytime. Your Bromford online account will help you diagnose problems if maintenance is needed, get help and advice on your responsibilities and tips for fixing the problem or making an appointment for an engineer to attend. You’ll be able to track any outstanding repairs and the site will also allow you to keep your own personal details up to date so we can understand your needs and provide help and advice whatever your circumstances.
The work we have done to get our repairs service where we want it, whilst managing costs, has meant that in areas such as landscaping, roofing and specialist works like major plastering, some of you will have experienced longer waiting times of around 10 weeks. This has enabled us to keep the balance of getting work done whilst being efficient on cost.
We have invested in highly skilled engineers to carry out property MOTs and repair our homes before they actually break down. Our schemes and flats will also receive MOTs and we are targeting properties that have higher than average repairs requests more frequently, but all homes should expect a home MOT check every three years.
We are improving our process for repairs, particularly by using new technology that will make the planning of engineers’ work schedules and the materials they have available much better.
We know that it can be a very difficult time if you experience any problems with your neighbour’s behaviour. During the year there have been some specific examples where you told us you didn’t feel that anyone had listened to you well enough.
The law has changed this year which means we can take a much more proactive role in helping you tackle these issues. For instance, we can now remove someone from their home if they have been convicted of a nuisance-related incident or if they have breached an injunction. This gives us greater powers to fight this type of behaviour and has resulted in 24 perpetrators being evicted from our neighbourhoods. We have taken a tough line on inappropriate behaviour and worked with the police and social services to reach satisfactory conclusions.
If you don’t feel able to talk to us about any problems you are experiencing either over the phone or face-to-face with your housing manager, we have now launched an online reporting place for you to tell us what’s going on and how it is making you feel. We’ve also introduced witness support groups to help you through this often quite difficult journey.
Letting our homes
We have welcomed 1,700 new customers into our homes this year, including 300 who were previously experiencing some kind of unsettled accommodation or who were homeless. Through the Bromford Deal we’ve given all our new customers support to help them thrive in their new homes. Through our Connect social network we have provided lots of information to help new customers settle into their new home and benefit from the Bromford Deal.
To give you a snapshot of who we let to, here's the household composition and BME composition of all our new lettings in 2013/14.
Read more from Bromford