Everything we do is linked to our customer promise of helping our residents and communities to thrive – we’re constantly looking to improve the ways that we work and the services we provide. In 2020, we teamed up with The Institute of Customer Service (ICS) to help us better understand how you rate our services. They sent a survey out to many of you on our behalf and we’re grateful to those people who took the time to respond.
From the survey, you told us that you wanted a service that was more customer focused and better communication from us and our contractors. You also told us you wanted better value from our grounds maintenance service and improvements to the way that repairs are managed.
To help us steer these priorities, we signed up for the Together with Tenants charter, a national housing programme which works towards strengthening the relationship between residents and housing associations. We’re also working with engaged customers to review specific areas of our services, so we can find ways to prioritise the work and make the most difference to services for all customers.
Since the survey results in 2020, we’ve worked together with residents to make a number of improvements based on your feedback:
- You told us that our website could be easier to use and navigate, so working with engaged customers, we created an all-new customer website, where you can find everything you need more quickly and easily. We also introduced 'Celeste', our helpful new chatbot (a website app that allows you to have an online conversation). Celeste can guide you through most commonly asked questions and give you useful tips on how to manage your account.
- We produced a new customer handbook that tells you everything you need to know about managing your Orbit tenancy.
- We’ve made improvements to our customer portal, myAccount. We’ve created a better online experience thanks to simpler navigation and an improved look and feel. Access your statements, manage repairs and get in touch – 24/7.
- We’ve reviewed over 100 of our core customer letters, including those from our contractors, to make sure that they clear and relevant and put you at the heart of our messaging. We plan to continue with this work.
- We reviewed gas servicing letters with engaged customers and we’ve now set up a focus group of customers who are dedicated to reviewing all our communications. If you’re interested in getting involved, please visit our ‘get involved’ page.
- We are currently completing around 2,000 repairs a week and whilst some non-emergency repairs are taking longer than usual to complete, we are prioritising emergency and safety critical repairs. We are also working closely with our contractors to understand the different types of repairs that are outstanding and ensure that the jobs that are most important, are getting completed.
- We’ve reviewed and improved the customer experience for bathroom and kitchen replacements, as well as our water pipe programme. We held webinars with residents prior to the services being delivered, so that we could understand your priorities and address any concerns before the work even started.
- Our Service Charge Officers are working more closely with Property
Managers to review, verify and amend estate budgets, focusing on
each individual estate. This has resulted in our service charges being more accurate and transparent which also reduced the number of customer enquiries.
Our senior managers and residents continue to meet regularly to ensure improvements activities identified as part of UKCSI survey are moving forward and we’re currently working on plans for our next financial year that starts in April. We’ll update you in the Spring edition of Orbit Life in May.
To measure these improvements, the ICS will be carrying out the survey again later this year. If you’re contacted, we would be grateful if you would take the time to share your views with us. We do listen and your voice really does matter!