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WCH rewarding customer involvement 

“In 10 months we went from 4.8% to 15.2% of our customers involved in our work. Rewards works! 

Pete Adams, Customer Involvement Advisor, WCH

Background

WCH are the largest provider of affordable homes in Worcester owning and managing around 5,200 homes. They work to deliver local ambitions and to harness local resources - private, public and voluntary - to make a positive difference to local lives, deliver quality homes and create thriving communities.

The challenge

WCH work to engage customers and involve them in all aspects of the work they do. With frustration levels on the rise due to the Excel spreadsheets used to record activity, the team set its sights on creating an all-in-one customer loyalty and monitoring scheme.

The Association's Head of Customer Services & Involvement Di Smith, explains:

“Administering involvement activity had become one big headache. We had spreadsheets that didn't join up with each other and because of this data was often incorrect and out of date. This led to frustrations both within the team and among customers too.”

"On top of this, it was difficult to monitor our successes and identify where we needed to improve. Getting completely accurate figures was labour intensive, time consuming and increasingly impossible. We were in danger of running involvement activities that were financially wasteful, with few recordable results - which is why we decided to do something about it.

"We had an in depth look at the market but couldn’t find anything that ticked all our boxes. We were on the look out for an all-in-one system that would administer, incentivise, report and survey. Added to this we wanted the obvious element of customer interaction that we felt should be a crucial part of any system.

"With no off-the-shelf solution available, it struck us that we were going to have to do the job ourselves. The result combines the best of everything we had seen with our own wish list to create a new and original software solution."

 The solution - Clearview Customer engagement suite…

… is a web based software system originally developed by the WCH team (known internally as “Rewards”) and subsequently enhanced and brought to market by Clearview. The fully parameterised, easy-to-use, online system; targets, markets and incentivises customer involvement. At the same time it offers in-depth administration capacity, as well as activity and cost recording plus reporting. The system is used every day by the involvement team at WCH and others across the organisation in a variety of ways. Benefits include the ability to:

  • Use data that is accurate against the housing management system;

  • Create and administer involvement activities;

  • Create and administer involvement groups;

  • Incentivise involvement ;

  • Administer incentivisation;

  • Carry out mail merges;

  • Carry out cost benefit analyses;

  • Carry out real time reporting for impact assessments and KPIs;

  • Create, administer and incentivise individuals to complete surveys;

  • Carry out surveys and campaigns online;

  • Allow customers to access their account online and see their reward points balance;

  • Allow customers to view groups and activities; and

  • Allow customers to swap their incentive points for rewards!

Pete Adams, Customer Involvement Advisor at WCH says:

"The best part of the system is that it's been developed by customer involvers for customer involvers! It makes what we do smart, measurable and gives something back to the people who give up their time to help improve local housing services – our customers."

Outcomes

Since implementing the system, in just 10 months, WCH has seen an explosion in customer involvement with figures increasing from 4.8% to 15.2% of the customer base. This welcome trend continues into this financial year.

Accurate data recording has allowed the targeting of failing activities, allowing them to be reinvigorated. Also, with a large number of individuals from the wider community also currently active on the system it has also allowed WCH to better target resources and reduce duplication among customer-facing teams.

Andy Howarth, Finance Director, says:

"Organisations such as WCH increasingly engage with a growing proportion of the customer base, which creates an increased administrative burden because everything must be recorded and evidenced. ‘Rewards’ allows this administration to be carried out efficiently, consistently and effectively and has generated a significant saving in staff time: equivalent to half a post, which we have invested into more customer facing activity."

"’Rewards’ also allows for more frequent and timely reporting, helping to ensure we are getting best value from our involvement activities. This has prompted reviews into a number of service areas, re-evaluating activities that we thought were necessary but that weren't producing useful outcomes. The result is that we have used the data ‘Rewards’ provides as a lever for change, enabling our teams to act with increased efficiency and allowing staff time to be invested in more effective ways."

The future

So what next for WCH? Pete Adams, Customer Involvement Advisor, says:

"The next stage for us is to keep expanding what we use the system for in order to integrate it into all areas of customer interaction. This may include using Rewards to encourage people to go digital by default, carrying out tenancy transactions online. We are aiming to use Rewards to encourage 'good tenant-like behaviour'; rewarding customers for allowing access to properties for repairs, making timely rent payments and keeping to agreements with Estate Managers."

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