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Learning from complaints

Claire Blacka

Written by Claire Blacka, head of customer engagement

We want to make our customers’ experience the best we can. But unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out this way and we do get complaints.

We see complaints as a really positive way to make amends and to learn and improve for the future. We’re working on a positive complaints culture for both colleagues and customers. We don’t want anyone to feel afraid to make or receive a complaint.

No organisation is perfect; we have 55,000 customers living in our homes and we provide lots of different services to those customers, including 186,256 repairs in 2020; so sometimes things do go wrong. When this happens, we put all of our energy into putting it right and learning from it so it doesn’t happen again.

So, what lessons have we learned lately? Here are five things your feedback has helped us change...

1. Communication, communication, communication

Keeping you up-to-date with what’s going on with your concerns is vital which is why it’s top of our list.

If you make a complaint, we’ll contact you at least once a week to let you know what’s going on, even if it’s to say there’s no change. We know it’s important to know you haven’t been forgotten, so we’ve even written this into our complaints policy.

Do tell us how you prefer to be contacted. Often, a quick text or email is enough to be reassured we’re still thinking of you and means we’re not taking up your valuable time.

2. Only the expert will do

We’re all customer-focused, but some of us are more desk-bound than others and don’t get to speak with customers as often as we’d like. If one of us is an expert in something related to your complaint, then doesn’t it make sense for you to speak directly to us? Absolutely.

3. Be clear with our information

It’s often the little things that make a big difference. We’ve found that making some small changes has helped clear things up for you. A couple of examples are:

  • updating information on our website about leaseholder insurance so you know what to expect
  • clarity on our sales information and reservation forms if you're buying a home from us

4. Get creative

We don’t have a “computer says no,” mentality at Home Group. So, if we think of a creative way to solve a problem, even one that goes against the flow of how we normally do things, then that’s what we’ll do.

For example, we had a complaint about delays to a fence repair. To push things through more quickly, we had to fit a different type of fence which meant hedgehogs wouldn’t be able to access the customer’s garden anymore. We loved the joy the hedgehogs were bringing to the customer, so we cut a hedgehog hole in to the fence.

5. Communicate big decisions the right way

Back to communication again, because it really matters to you.

When big decisions need to be communicated, they need to be done the right way. That means hearing information from us, not one of our contractors. It also means not keeping you in the dark if there’s a change to your home coming your way.

Get involved

There's lots of ways to shape what we do and make a difference to your community.

Give us your feedback

If you’ve got a great idea that helps us do things better, don’t be shy, just let us know. If you pop over to our compliments and complaints information, we’ll tell you how you can give us your feedback.

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