Six actions that will make a real impact on your repairs performance

Performance improvement in Housing

UK social housing illustration by Ad Esse Consulting

These practical actions have made a substantial impact in the vast majority of the 20+ housing organisations we’ve worked with. We’ve seen clients achieve improvements such as > 40% increase in jobs completed per day, a significant (> 50%) reduction in customer complaints & other failure demand (such as chaser calls & callbacks), and > 30% increase in first time fix rates. 
Try these six actions below. For help or more information, get in touch.

1. Scrap the arbitrary targets

Many repairs targets drive undesirable behaviours. Scrap arbitrary targets such as jobs attended per day, which encourages operatives and contractors to attend but not necessarily complete appointments. Instead of attended appointments, measure jobs completed and complement that with reasons why jobs couldn’t be completed. E.g. materials required, wrong trade.

Here’s another switch. Instead of having a jobs per day target to monitor productivity, measure the time spent completing work versus not, so you understand where time is wasted. This has the bonus of also telling you how long your jobs actually take to complete.

The aim is not to remove performance measurement. In fact, we suggest measuring more than you do now, and doing so mercilessly to understand your true performance. The trick is to remove the arbitrary targets that drive the wrong behaviours and often hide your true performance.

2. Don't have too many job classifications

The more classifications you have, the more process steps and waste you find you need to administer them. Plus, a whole host of problems arise from misunderstanding the classifications, and staff or customers try to classify repairs as emergencies or urgent appointments when they aren’t. 

Really, you only need two classifications – normal jobs and emergency ones. Focus on making sure your customers don’t wait too long for an appointment overall rather than adding in new classifications. 

Emergency often needs redefining. There are only two types of acceptable emergency appointments: ‘Leave your current job and get to this emergency now’, or ‘it’s your next job’.

3. SOR codes...

Consider scrapping your SOR codes. Instead, focus on measuring and understanding how long each job type actually takes, and use this data to run your service. Not only will your scheduling get better, it will also give you more accurate financial information. SORs tend to set inaccurate expectations. They are often changed and rarely reflect what has happened on each individual job. Plus, they can be a nightmare to administer… don’t be afraid to keep it simple!

4. Let your experts be the experts

Don’t force non-experts to be experts. In other words, don’t make your call handler or even your customer do an in-depth analysis of what’s needed to fix their issue. Get them to understand the symptoms as far as possible, and then let the operative apply their expertise to resolve it.  

Nearly every operative we’ve ever spoken to has said they just want to know what the customer is experiencing and they can usually figure it out from there. Getting the non-experts to do it can result in more errors, such as the wrong trade being sent or the operative being misinformed, and it’s usually a poorer experience for customers.

5. Give your experts enough time to do the necessary work

Once you have an accurate understanding of how long jobs should take, in parallel you need to implement flexible time slots for work to be completed. Doing this will enable the operative to complete the job, rather than having to leave a job and book a follow on because they’ve run out of time. Within reason, it’s usually more efficient for the operative to stay longer and complete the job rather than come back another day.

6. Sort out your van stock

Use data to understand your van stock and review it regularly. Remember, at least 80% of the jobs you complete will need 20% of the overall stock available to you. Make sure it’s that 20% that you carry as standard on your vans, and have a good process for keeping the vans orderly and well stocked. You’d be amazed at how much time is saved by cutting out trips to material suppliers!

If you want more information about any of these tips or want to discuss a repairs improvement project in your organisation, drop us an email on

Disclaimer: The outcome and actions you should take will depend on your individual circumstances and starting position.