Day in the life

Debbie Bell
Customer Solutions Manager

5.30am: My day usually starts with a shock, as our 28 kilo Staffordshire Bull Terrier jumps on the bed to tell us its time for a walk! My partner then brings me breakfast before I go to have my shower and get ready for work.

6.30am: I check my phone to see if any of my team have sent me a text with any issues/illness, so that I am prepared for when I get into work. No texts, so all my team seem to be fine and we will have full staffing levels this morning. I then put my laptop into the car ready for my 1 hour commute into work, along the country roads and the wonderful A34.

7.30am: I arrive into work and log on. My first job is to have a scan over the Out of Hours report that comes from Astraline, who handle our Out of Hours service, to see if there have been any major incidents. Thankfully there have been no major issues, and only a couple of operatives been out to our properties, to isolate a burst and board up a broken window.

8.00am: The phone lines come back over to us from the Out of Hours service and I check that the lines are working ok, which they are. We rarely have any issues with this, but always good to check, to ensure that our customers can get through to us. I then catch up with the team to make sure all went ok after I had gone home the previous evening, and make sure that they have no system issues. I call some of the team as we have the opportunity to work from home. This works really well, especially in winter; if the roads are poor and people are having difficulty getting into the office, they can log on securely at home, and answer calls from our customers, maintain our service.

9.00am: Our reception area opens so I go and have a chat with them; looking at how many emails we have in to deal with. More and more of our customers are now choosing to contact us via email, for the less urgent issues. I check with them that our admin work is not falling behind our Service Levels, as today we have the capacity to give the reception area some support, subject to our call levels.

10.00am: It’s time for our weekly team meeting. This is vital time where we have a chance to get together to discuss what’s happening in the world of Equity. We have a packed agenda, with discussions around future Safeguarding Training/new properties that have just been released by our Development team/our team performance/an upcoming Money Advice Facebook session and lots of other initiatives.

11.00am: Time for all of us to head back to the Contact Centre. I again check to see what calls the Out of Hours provider has received whilst we have been closed. A Customer has also arrived in reception wanting to talk to someone about their rent account, and as their Customer Relationship Manager is not in the building, I take them into our front office to see what I can do to help.

11.30am: I now have a meeting with our apprentice, who works with us on reception. At Equity we have had a number of apprentices which gives them great experience of the Housing Sector. As we record our calls into the contact centre, this gives us the opportunity to use these to train other colleagues. It also helps me to do monthly call listening so that I can check that the service that our customers receive is the same, no matter who they speak to within the team.

12.30pm: Time for a spot of lunch in our break out area – a great opportunity to have a chat with colleagues from other departments.

1.30pm: This afternoon I have our monthly Operational Meeting with our repairs provider. We look at the repairs KPI’s together with the Customer Satisfaction with our Repairs service. It’s really important for us to monitor our satisfaction levels with our repairs service and look what we can do to make this a better service for our customers. This will be the last meeting with our outgoing contractors, as Fortem, our new repairs provider started with us on 17 June. It is really important for us to learn from past issues to look to offer a better service going forward. In the future we want to be able to offer our customers a service where they can make their own appointments without having the need to contact the Customer Solutions Team, and to be able to access this service 24/7 – watch this space!

3.00pm: Back at my desk and time to look at the days’ activity. So far today we have dealt with 53 emails and taken 131 calls, with an average wait time of 70 seconds.

3.30pm: Now time to catch up with any emails from the day that need attention, and make some notes and put time in my calendar for anything that I need to catch up with tomorrow.

4.00pm: Back in my car for my commute home, and ready for an affectionate mauling from my dog who will be ready for his walk.