Written by IFF Research

Listening and learning from customer feedback – best practice roundtable summary

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The Social Housing White Paper stresses the importance of showing how we are learning from customer feedback. The Regulator of Social Housing has already expressed that customer satisfaction should not be a box ticking exercise. Part of the feedback cycle is demonstrating the actions and interventions you are taking.

We recently hosted a best practice roundtable event, inviting social housing providers to share how they are communicating with customers that they are listening and learning from their feedback. Here are some of the key takeaways from this session.

Black Country Housing Group: providing complete transparency in the satisfaction feedback loop

Ramesh Malhan, Head of Customer Voice at Black Country Housing Group (BCHG), talked about their new style of gathering customer feedback, BCHG Chat. Designed in collaboration with residents and staff, BCHG Chat provides a star rating and free text system to enable residents to express their views publicly. This feedback, gathered by us and sent to BCHG, allows them to respond directly and is there for all to see.

Ramesh explained how it significantly improves transparency the satisfaction feedback loop:

“The Customer Star Rating feedback concept is about bringing a feedback system that is quite familiar into the domain of our sector, which we hadn’t seen done before. The system is a brave way of considering how we open ourselves up and build trust. We know that we’re not infallible, we will get some things wrong, we get some things right, but we’ve made a commitment to be open and honest in our approach.”

Tracking that you are listening and taking on board feedback

Our Associate Director of Housing Research, Kate Roberts, explained how we are helping our clients to make changes based on customer feedback. She shared how we are presenting the findings using action workshops. We invite participants to share learnings and then work together to understand the delight factors and pain points of the customer experience to form an action plan with short-, mid- and long-term goals. The headlines from these agreed action plans are then communicated widely to residents as a “You said, we are doing” message.

We then re-visit these action plans each quarter with providers as a way of reflecting on actions and ensuring accountability over time.

Laura Ballantyne, Strategy and Insight Researcher at LiveWest, explained they have a proactive approach to customer feedback, working with IFF and setting up internal triggers to deal with customer feedback swiftly.

Her team works with the business to identify and respond to specific customer comments. They use the IFF Resident Voice hot alerts to follow up any comments, enabling them to react to expressions of dissatisfaction in real-time and to track what action was taken.

Laura stated, “In circumstances when we have received multiple comments from people saying the same thing, we pull those threads together, identify the theme, and address those concerns with specific teams.”

Effective ways to share your feedback, learnings and actions

At IFF, we produce animated videos summarising customer feedback. These are an impactful way of sharing results in a clear and accessible format to staff and customers.

And we’re not alone in our approach. At the roundtable, we heard how The Community Housing Group (TCHG) have been creating short, animated videos that feature Tina Browne, Complaints and Customer Insight Officer, and Gill Mooney, Head of Customer Engagement. In the videos, they explain the stages and types of complaints, their performance against targets, and lessons learned.

“The animation is on our website and residents can see how we are delivering against complaints targets, what we’ve learned from the outcomes and examples of how we plan to improve services. It’s been so successful; it just seems to have broken down barriers and people find it much friendlier and funnier to watch.”

Embedding a culture that doesn’t fear customer feedback

You may have heard recently about Housing providers needing to change culture in relation to valuing feedback from customers. Housing providers should take care in not using satisfaction scores to punish teams if they’re not matching an arbitrary KPI. It’s important that your leadership teams engage with the learnings from customer feedback, and use your feedback results and the learnings from customers to create a positive atmosphere. You need to communicate which things can be improved upon and engage staff in making positive changes to how you deliver your services.

One way organisations have worked to keep the customer experience at the heart of board activity is to involve the board in the complaints process. Board members take on a handful of customer complaints to manage every month, dealing with customers directly to understand the issue and find a resolution.

Another provider shared how positive customer experiences with staff are communicated using a video scheme. Once a week, the executive team produce a personalised video acknowledging a staff member’s commitment to customer service for display across the organisation’s internal video screens. The videos celebrate positive customer feedback, and the programme is very popular with the internal service teams.

Interested to learn more?

Are you interested in using your customer feedback to drive change in your organisation? Get in touch with our team of housing experts today.