Customer service boost

Our EPIC changes are bringing a huge boost to customer services.

Councillor Cammy Day with Dunedin Canmore staff

One of Scotland’s biggest housing associations has introduced a new way of working which will transform customer services for thousands of tenants in Edinburgh.

Dunedin Canmore is almost doubling its number of Housing Officers, increasing their numbers from 14 to 24, and reducing the amount of homes they manage to 200 each - among the smallest patch sizes in the UK. Staff will enjoy much more power than ever before to make decisions for customers at the first point of contact.

Director of Housing Hazel Young said: “This marks a real step change in our customer focus. Our staff will now not only be out and about much more in their neighbourhoods, building stronger relationships and more trust with customers, but they will also be able to get more things done for people.”

This new way of working is part of the organisation’s ‘EPIC’ transformation programme – developed to empower staff to deliver truly customer focused services.

Last week Edinburgh City Council Housing Leader, Councillor Cammy Day, visited Dunedin Canmore, which is part of Wheatley Group, to learn about the their journey to customer excellence so far.

He heard how the new way of working will help staff deliver on the Group strategy which outlines a commitment to excellence, giving customers more choice and designing services around the individual. Every member of staff is now in the best place – with the right skills – to make a real difference for tenants and factored homeowners.

Hazel Young added: “We’ve stripped out some of the layers that often slow decisions down and given the power to the people who directly touch our customers. We believe our tenants and owners will soon see the difference.”

Layers of management and the number of managers have been reduced to speed up decision making and divert more resources to the frontline.

New local teams made up of housing, repairs and environmental staff have also been formed so colleagues can work closely together to find fast and effective solutions for communities.

And support services staff at Dunedin Canmore, such as finance, IT and customer service advisors, will now be able to work more closely with Wheatley teams - sharing expertise to deliver better value for money and more innovative ways of doing things.

To deliver the transformation programme staff came up with a name based on the values that would drive their journey to excellence – excellence, pride, integrity and commitment – ‘EPIC’. Staff have since been involved in a series of engagement events with their ideas being turned into improvements for customers. This includes:

  • shorter waiting times for callers to Dunedin Canmore’s customer service centre;
  • repairs being spotted earlier in customers’ homes as a result of increased visits;
  • specialist advice or care support put in place for elderly and vulnerable tenants.

Councillor Cammy Day said: "It was really great to hear about the changes being made at Dunedin Canmore and to see how enthusiastic the staff members are. There's a real focus on improving services for tenants and empowering people on the front line will ensure tenant priorities are at the heart of everything - and that's exactly where they should be."

Wheatley Chief Executive Martin Armstrong said: “Dunedin Canmore already had a good reputation for its homes and services. But having more staff out and about in our communities, making decisions there and then, is a huge step forward in Dunedin Canmore’s journey to excellence . In common with all our partner organisations at Wheatley, staff at Dunedin Canmore have told us they are determined to do the absolute best job they can for all their customers. Having more staff getting things done where it matters most – on the frontline – will make that happen.”


Monday, March 07, 2016