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Customer-focused repairs process at Ealing Council

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Results & ROI

  • Expected capacity savings amounting to 1.5 FTE due to a decrease in failure demand being handled by the contact centre
  • Average number of days taken to complete a job down to 4.25 days

The client

Ealing Council serves the residents and businesses of the third largest borough in London. Ensuring there is high quality, affordable housing available to the borough’s residents is a high priority for most councils. Ealing Council provides rented, leasehold and sheltered housing services to approximately 18,000 homes across the borough.

The challenge

One of the primary functions the council manages under its housing umbrella is a responsive repairs service. It had become clear to the organisation that there were improvements to be made with regard to service performance and the team had begun tackling these by making the changes they deemed necessary. We were asked to support the service’s management team to make these changes and support implementation of rapid improvements that would stick. The agreed objectives were to ensure delivery of a positive customer experience, to free up capacity by reducing waste, introduce better performance measures, reduce the level of failure demand and to introduce a stable platform for further improvement.

The approach

The service review was broken into 3 phases:

Diagnostic

Key findings included an overly-complicated process with waste throughout, decisions being made by people not best placed to do so, more focus placed on the process than the customers, backlogs and delays due to bottlenecks in the process, a lot of time on checking, over 85% of contact centre demand failure and a lack of trust between teams.

Redesign

Key changes included removing the classification of jobs as emergency, urgent or routine, moving to the contact centre staff capturing symptoms rather than completing a diagnostic, removal of a number of authorisation steps, the introduction of a minimum standard of communication and moving of checks and audits to after the repair.

Implementation

The new process was implemented and supported by the introduction of an Information Centre and improved performance measures.

The benefits

Benefits were not limited to capacity savings in the contact centre. The key benefit desired by Ealing Council was to improve the customer’s experience of the repairs service. As well as increasing efficiency levels for the organisation, changes such as increasing the number of repairs completed on the first visit and increasing the level of communication with customers, have had a direct, positive impact on the customer’s experience. Customer satisfaction has hit its highest point for years at 96%. Setting up of an Information Centre more effective, customer driven measures are in place and improvement continues.