Customer Feedback & Performance

Feedback from our customers is hugely important to Connexus. We actively seek it out, asking our customers if they want to participate in phone surveys throughout the year on a number of business areas. We also welcome our customers to become ‘involved’ which means you are able to take part in important discussions about decisions the business needs to make which can even determine the future direction of the organisation and you can do this as frequently or infrequently as you wish.

 

Who would call

Our partners at IFF Research will always call on this number; 02031 487 719. If you do receive a call and you’re unsure, or if you don’t want to take part, you are under no obligation to do so. If you are happy to share your feedback this allows us to understand where we need to make improvements or recognise where customers feel we are adding most value.

 

Getting your voice heard

Opportunities for customers to have their voice heard start right at the beginning of a Connexus tenancy when we offer all customers the chance to tell us about their moving in experience. Once you have your Moving In survey you might hear from us if you’ve had repair or gas servicing works at your home, if you have reached a certain tenancy milestone or if you’ve had investment works at your home, like a new kitchen, bathroom or roof for example, you might also get a call from IFF to understand your experience of our service. We also offer the opportunity to participate in an Anniversary survey when your tenancy reaches various milestones so we can understand your views over a longer period of time.

We believe in creating a range of feedback routes which work best for you.

Every three months, we review the feedback we have across all surveys, compliments, informal complaints and formal complaints.

Customers participating in surveys are asked to give us a score rating from 0-10 to let us know how satisfied they are with our services. Customers also leave us lots of comments which we can read through and share with teams. While we received lots of excellent feedback for all areas of the organisation, our customers told us that our repair service was the service they were most satisfied with. Customers particularly commended our repair teams for their knowledge and friendly manner. Our repairs colleagues were really delighted to hear this, especially with the challenges we all faced working in the midst of a pandemic.

The feedback showed that our customers were mainly very satisfied overall, but we could clearly see in some areas we needed to do much more.

How you feel we have performed these last 6 months April 2021 to September 2021

Satisfaction with repairs

Emergency repairs

Likelihood to recommend (out of 10)

Repairs completed first time

Satisfaction with lettings

Satisfaction with investments

Regular reviews of satisfaction performance and what we are doing to improve

Our Business Intelligence Team analyse customer feedback and every three months provide detailed reports to Heads of Service so that customer satisfaction can be reviewed with their teams to identify potential improvements we can make.

Every time we look at reasons for dissatisfaction, we identify any feedback in significant volume as a theme. This is because it is repeatedly voiced as an issue across all service areas of the organisation. Where dissatisfaction in these themes is highest, we call this a ‘Key Theme’ and where it is still significant, but lower in volume, we call it a ‘sub-theme.’

From January to March this year customers told us the key themes and sub theme we needed to improve were;

  1. Our communication (Key Theme)
  2. Our outstanding repair process (Key Theme)
  3. Our management of re-occurring issues with the same repairs (Sub-theme)

When we looked at this in greater detail we found that a large amount of issues customers experienced were actually interlinked.

Our communication issues were mainly down to customers feeling there was a void of information in the following circumstances;

  • Waiting for confirmation for a date when a repair may take place. This could be via a call back, a response to an email or a letter via post.
  • If the repair job was not able to be completed first time, customers were inadequately informed about our next steps, not knowing when a re-visit would be booked in for, when parts would be available, and sometimes, not fully understanding why works could not be completed first time round and what was remaining to be completed. Again, this could be via a call back, a response to an email or a letter via post.

It's important for us to acknowledge that to make significant and lasting change within these processes, operational reviews needed to take place. We understood that change would take time and needed to work more pro-actively for our customers and provide more clarity.

More recently a new Head of Service for repairs has been appointed and reviews of processes and reporting systems is underway.

Between April and June we reviewed our customer’s feedback again but sought out more detail around our themes. We found that the main issues customers experienced in the previous months still remained but small improvements could be seen. In addition to these we could see that other issues were appearing that also needed addressing.

Image
Call centre

What you’ve told us we need to improve currently

Here is what customers have told us, listed in order of the largest to smallest themes (4 and 5 are of equal volume):

  1. Our communication
  2. Our outstanding repairs process
  3. Repair response times
  4. Our management of re-occurring issues with the same repairs
  5. Sub-standard Repair Work
  6. ASB
  7. Colleague Conduct

 

We appreciate the concerns customer have shared around repair response times and have changed our process to ensure that we can clear the back log of outstanding repair works we have.

What you feel about neighbourhoods

Community networks and relationships are generally very strong. Customers enjoy living in our mainly peaceful, scenic and rural locations. There is an appreciation that vital services are usually accessible like supermarkets, doctors and shops for example. Customers are very often passionate about their homes, sometimes they have lived in the area a long time, even since birth, and they are proud of taking care of their property.

Like all modern communities, and especially in more urban areas, some customers experience anti-social behaviour, particularly issues with drugs and crime. Additionally in more recent months we have seen concerns around the need for increased parking facilities and improved grounds maintenance.

While Connexus maintains all homes to a ‘Decent Home’ standard, some households have said improvements are needed for outdoor lighting, damp, mould and ventilation. Additionally, some customers voiced concerns around the need for investment works to upgrade areas of the home like the kitchen or bathroom for example.

To address some of these things our assets, repairs and housing teams are now working side by side to increase the number of Stock Condition Surveys they complete on properties. This allows them to identify where vital work may be needed and review the root causes. The more up to date our systems are with regard to the information we hold on the condition of our properties, the better our planning will be to make improvements and address concerns.

How quickly would we respond to your feedback if you need us to?

We now have an effective triage process in place. This means that if you score below a certain level when completing a survey an email called a ‘Hot Alert’ would immediately be sent to our teams. We would then review your entire survey and see whether you needed further support from us and who would be most appropriate to help.

If you have asked us a question or we can see that there is something we must address, one of our team will get in touch and try and ensure you are offered the support required. By implementing this process we have been able to help customers alleviate financial concerns, book in new repair works, address Health and Safety issues, arrange for adaptations in homes, make referrals to our Support Services and much, much more.

How you scored us over the last six months

April to September 2021:

  • Overall satisfaction – 77.5%
  • Satisfaction with lettings – 87.9%
  • Satisfaction with our telephone handling – 88.7%
  • Satisfaction with the quality of our homes – 84.4%
  • Satisfaction with your neighbourhood – 82.9%
  • Satisfaction with our repairs – 89.0%
  • Believe rent provides value for money – 87.7%
Feedback and complaints

Your feedback allows us to identify key areas where we need to improve and know what we’re doing well. Despite us always working to deliver good quality services, there will be times where we fall short of. Learning from your feedback is important and so we’ll be carrying out a 6 monthly review, updating you on how we’re getting on.  

Here is our latest breakdown of what you’re telling us. 

April 2021 to October 2021:

Number of feedback cases and complaints received

  Apr 21 May 21 Jun 21 Jul 21 Aug 21  Sep 21 Total
Comments 43 47 72 45 35 47 289
Complaints 3 4 7 3 4 3 24
Compliments 12 10 18 17 14 10 81
Ombudsman 0 0 1 0 0 0 1
Total 58 61 97 65 53 60 394
  • Action (lack of or delay) – 33% 
  • Quality of work/service – 18% 
  • Communication – 15% 
  • Colleague conduct – 14% 
  • Policy or procedure – 8% 
  • Other – 12% 

We encourage all feedback from customers and have developed the Complaints Policy along with the complaints procedure to ensure that we deal with complaints effectively and fairly. 

For more information on our complaint process, Complaints Policy or details on how to make a complaint contact our Customer Service team. 

What improvements have we made as a result of learning from complaints?

Be clear on the expectations of service delivery of Connexus

Delivery of our services is inconsistent which is reflected in the feedback and complaints that we receive. We will review our Customer Offer (service standards) and seek feedback from customers, but also colleagues, to fully understand the barriers to consistently delivering a good service. Once the new Customer Offer has been defined, we will ensure customers and colleagues are clear on what customers can expect and what is expected of colleagues.

Where we have received complaints about our support services, we found that we needed to be clear around the different housing management tasks that are the responsibility of different teams. As a result, we are changing some of our internal processes to identify more clearly who does what, reducing confusion for both colleagues and customers, leading to improved customer satisfaction.

Do what we say we will

Customer feedback is clear that we need to do what we say we will, such as calling our customers back. To address this, we have made the decision to use one housing management system to record customer call back requests and the following interaction. The creates more transparency between teams, and means it is possible to track and make sure calls are returned more easily. The change to one system was made in December 2021.

Keeping customers informed

Training was delivered to colleagues to help improve confidence when responding to enquiries and complaints. This will help address issues where customers were not receiving information or being kept informed.

We have identified that customers are not always told when follow-up work for a repair will take place. To address this, we have agreed that customers will now receive a call within 10 working days of the initial repair to provide an update about any ongoing repair work.

Proactive instead of reactive

Complaints and feedback show that we are often reactive rather than proactive. The Customer Feedback Forum considered ways we could change this. The group discussed simple things such as advising customers of work which will be undertaken that will impact them, or if we become aware of an issue that could affect them, then make contact and advise. This will take time to implement. However, there are opportunities to do simple proactive work immediately, and where possible these are being highlighting to the relevant area of the business.

The themes of repair complaints match issues raised in our customer satisfaction surveys. We are therefore taking a proactive approach and where a customer raises an issue in a survey, the respective team are notified so that they can act to address the problem.

Being clear about what we can and cannot do

Complaint feedback showed that we need to be clearer about what Connexus can and cannot do about anti-social behaviour (ASB). We found that expectations of the person reporting ASB were different from what was possible, leaving them feeling like we have not acted as we should have (for example, evicted the perpetrator). We have worked with the communications team to provide information and articles on ASB, focusing on what we can/cannot do and to encourage reporting, both to Connexus but also other agencies such as the police, environmental health teams and local authorities.

Call waiting times

Following feedback around call waiting times and dissatisfaction to responses, we have:

  • Reduced the time the customer service team have between calls, so they are available for calls more often
  • Recruited additional customer service advisers who handle calls about repairs
  • Appointed a customer service adviser to train other colleagues on the new housing system where all requests for call backs are recorded
  • Refreshed our training approach for new colleagues
  • Worked with ICT to review the telephony system and address intermittent quality issues that impact on the ability of colleagues to deliver the service effectively
     

The letting process

Dissatisfaction around communication with the moving in process has been a key theme raised by customers. Our housing team has now addressed this by making sure that a member of the team contacts each prospective tenant over the telephone, in advance of the move-in date and then at the point of letting.

We also advise customers of anything still outstanding at the property such as a repair, with a timeframe for completion as well as a point of contact for queries or questions.  As a result, satisfaction has increased from 87.29% in 2020/21 to 89.39% year to date in 2021/22. We will continue to put in place processes which make the process better for customers moving into a Connexus home.

Heating issues

We have taken steps to address feedback about heating issues, including:

  • The creation of a ‘boiler down’ process to ensure awareness and prompt action
  • The appointment of alternative contractors to provide independent surveys on schemes where there have been ongoing heating issues
  • Ensuring that where customers are provided with temporary heating, we have an agreed compensation arrangement (as appropriate)
  • Providing regular updates to tenants and households on schemes where issues have been identified. These include frequently asked questions and information on progress/ They also have one point of contact for any queries.

No matter how good we make our service, there will be times when we fall short of expectations or the level of service to which we aspire. Our complaints policy outlines our approach to resolving such situations.

We encourage all feedback from customers and have developed the Complaints Policy along with the complaints procedure to ensure that we deal with complaints effectively and fairly.

For more information on our complaint process or details on how to make a complaint, click here.