NCHA (Nottingham Community Housing Association) approached Housemark to carry out a contact centre benchmarking project, to evaluate if they should move forward with their plans for a contact centre redesign. We spoke with Martin Ebner, Head of Customer Experience at NCHA.

What were your reasons for working with the consultancy team at Housemark?

We wanted assurance that the ideas that we had regarding a contact centre redesign were valid and could be pursued. Ultimately, we wanted to know that we were heading in the right direction.

How was Housemark able to help you and what areas of your business did they look at?

Housemark were able to offer us their expertise and objectivity. Working with them and their analysis helped us to re-affirm internal discussions. Having independent advisors provide evidence to back up our discussion making – it gave us that extra confidence and assurance. Housemark have access to data from other housing associations and so were able to advise what ‘good’ looks like in an objective, sector-wide way.

How have you used this insight and learning within your business? What has now changed as a result?

It has validated our decisions and given us the confidence to continue with our plans. It was valuable to have a mid-point review to check we were on the right track. This year (2022) we have implemented a new customer contact centre, which has delivered both efficiency and improved outcomes for customers. We’re now achieving around 90% customer satisfaction! We’re also implementing a new customer portal coming in early 2023.

How has this impacted on your employees, tenants and other stakeholders

From a colleague perspective, it’s given them the tools to achieve 90% customer satisfaction. Agents now have more power at their fingertips to resolve customer queries at the first point of contact. Customers also have the additional capability to reserve their place in the queue and, when the agent is available, they will call them back.

Previously we had some negative feedback around call wait time, but this has now been eradicated. Our new system will help to improve ease of contact, which is a regulation key area of focus and will be publicly reported on and published. This will potentially lead to better perception survey results for us.

The next focus for our journey is to tackle first contact resolution and to improve workload management and reduce pressure on staff.

Would you recommend Housemark’s consultancy services to other organisations?

Absolutely, yes!

We were really impressed with all the work Housemark did for us. So much so that we asked them to do a further ‘data deep-dive’ for us.

I really enjoyed working with Housemark. It didn’t feel like a ‘transaction’, but more of an inclusive conversation. Stephanie and Alex listened to what we wanted to get out of the project and I felt listened to. I was very impressed with their work and really enjoyed the experience.