'The Big Question' - quickly gathering views / surveying
15/12/2010 3:05 pm
Guinness Hermitage are considering an additional way of consulting with tenants. The idea is that every time we speak to a tenant, at the end of the conversation we ask one question on a particular "hot topic."
An example: We notice our satisfaction with plumbing repairs has gone down. All staff then ask every tenant they speak to for a week what we can do to improve plumbing jobs.
Staff would of course use discretion and not ask the question if they didn't feel it was appropriate at that time.
I'm interested in what people think about this idea, and whether people are aware of similar schemes elsewhere.
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16/12/2010 1:53 am
Are your residents dissatisfied with the repair themselves (ie by the contractors workanship or lack of it and their conduct while attending and carrying out the job) or by the way their reporting these repairs is dealt with by the admnistration (ie difficult to fix appointments and appointments being given written notices of)?
16/12/2010 8:25 am
Finding out that detail will be the purpose of asking the questions. The example I gave for repairs is just an example of a service we might need to improve.
What do you think of this idea of quick surveying? We are trying to find ways to get views / feedback from lots of residents that doesn't take up lots of their time, and doesn't cost lots of their rent money to administrate.
Regards and thanks
16/12/2010 10:07 am
I would suggest that for each repair contractors must carry with them a freepost satisfaction card. The card has to be left with the resident to be filled after the contractor has finished and is gone. This is because I have known contractors intimidating residents in saying the job is satisfactory.
Apart for option of to say what they think of the experience, from reporting the repair to having the job carried out, the card should also have a freenumber to call if the resident prefers to call instead of mailing the card.
If you then do not hear from the resident or you do not get the card either you post them another card or you phone them up with a discreet inquiry.
This process should be done with any issue, not just repairs.
16/12/2010 10:14 am
you could have the option for residents using computers, asking them to fill in an online satisfaction form or send them a form via email.
Lastly it would be good to keep your residents informed how you have applied the feedback giving them an option to comment on this too.
17/12/2010 8:42 am
Seems like a good idea to me. When speaking to residents I often end by asking if everything is okay, or if there are any issues and this often brings up small matters which are quick and easy to fix and this encourages them to come back with other issues later on.
One idea we trialled a few year ago was putting cards up in shapes (so several pieces of card put together to look like a guitar for example) and residents were invited to write up their ideas. Very few needed replacing due to inappropriate language/suggestions.
The student, who came up with the idea, did a workshop with the children on the estate to come up with designs and we were able to capture their views on the issue at the same time.
01/02/2011 10:34 am
This sounds a really good idea. One of ways in which we consult customers/keep customer information up to date is recording data as part of our annual gas safety checks. We do this via the operatives PDAs. We decided to use the gas safety checks as this is one way that we generally are able to access all properties.
01/02/2011 10:42 am
I sit by customer service advisors in our organisation and they ask a new question every month at the end of a phone call - I don't think I have heard one refusal from a tenant yet and it allows us to gather some very important information - topic this month is are our opening hours accessible to our tenants and how do they want to communicate with us.
01/02/2011 11:36 am
One of my suggestion what thatthe Contractor have hand held devices. Does not work for all Tenants. But i does in most cases.
This way the staff of our Housing Association and Contractor can see if a problem the Tenant can be contacted and re arrange any follow up, poor workshipman or a issue with the Contractor.
Our Housing Association also issues follow up card's with the Job Reference Number and contract details and the name of the Contractor.
This is our main contractor.
We trying to extend to All In House Staff and others
01/02/2011 3:35 pm
The format is common to Conservative Party political canvasers, who then use the 'hot topic' identifier to hard sell and target post the voter with the 'we will be on your side' approach etc. It is very effective, but may lose validity in the same way as so many other good mechanisms have when hijacked by the self interested.
However, were you to ask instead what the tenant would expect as a good but affordable service looked like (for instance: if you were arranging for a local contractor to do this work for you, what would you be looking for from them and how would you chose which one was best for you) you could then go on and ask them what one thing more than any other should be changed immediately to make things better.
I think if tenants are clear that there is no promise to implement their preference, but within a set timeframe all such views will be used to improve contract management and service outcomes/experience. Following up with a you said we did style could then be properly understood as your taking real steps to improve, not just playing political games.
01/02/2011 5:22 pm
Actually, I have to say that this seems a very good idea - provided the 'hot topic' is one that will engage the residents and not (as PSR has eluded to) one that merely serves the organisation...
I will go off an implement something similar straight away!
Thanks for sharing
ps THIS is what these forums should be used for!
01/02/2011 6:36 pm
I don't think it will be popular with staff - and it feels a bit gimmicky to me. That said, it may be popular with tenants.
01/02/2011 8:29 pm
I think it is a good idea, but I do agree that I don't think it will be too popular with staff - could feel very repetitive and may take longer than anticipated to listen, acknowledge and note the feedback.
It could also become very repetitive for customers if they happen to have a lot of contact with different team members and so are asked the same question again and again - depending of course how it is captured that someone has already been asked.
But I think that the more important thing is how will this be used - and how will it be demonstrated that it is being used and is making a difference to the service(s). If people see no point in asking the questions or giving the answers then any initiative is unlikely to succeed.
Also agree that this is exactly the sort of thing that this forum is here for and it would be really useful if you could update us, Leon - or anyone else who tries this idea - on how it goes.
21/02/2011 3:13 pm
This is a good way of finding out an opinion across your customer base about a particular issue - but if they haven't had a need for a plumber recently they may be confused by the question - far better to target those with a recent plumbing repair to see how well it was done. The problem here for me is the number of surveys we expect our customers to take part in - STATUS is bad enough, then there are Tenancy Health Checks, individual surveys on service standards, follow up surveys on particular issues such as repairs and ASB - and then we wonder why our tenants don't have time to look for work too!! I know it is important for us to gather customer feedback but we need to ensure that our tenants are not overloaded with such requests or, like the rest of us, they may avoid such surveys altogether.
07/03/2011 1:39 pm
Wow! Thanks for all of your input. I'll share the feedback from this thread with my colleagues.
We're going to start 'The Big Question' in April. Will let you know how it goes.
05/04/2011 0:56 am
Whilst I agree with the general view that it is always good practice to garner feedback from service-users, I feel that I should mention that there is a risk to gathering information in the manner you suggest.
Any sample needs to be of sufficient size to be statistically valid, for example, if your organisation has 10,000 properties and the views of 250 tenants are obtained over the month, it would be very risky to redesign the service, using the views of only 2.5% of the tenants.
I would recommend that you ensure that there is a confidence level of at least 15-20% to be on the safe side.