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Learning from complaints winter 2021

Claire Blacka

Written by Clare Blacka, head of customer engagement

Welcome to our quarterly blog on how we’re learning from complaints. We’re working at making complaints a positive experience for colleagues and customers. We want everyone to feel confident when it comes to complaints. Read on to find out what’s been happening over the last few months…

Inclusivity for customers

We recently learnt an important lesson. A customer with a hearing impairment couldn’t report an emergency repair out of hours. Our chat function isn’t available then. We learnt we need to be better at ensuring customers know they can reach us using a text service called Relay. We’ve improved our information and we’re spreading the word.

Repair delays

Issues with suppliers and availability of tradespeople are still causing delays in repairs. We’re keeping our customers up to date.

Repair timescales

At the moment, we give timescales for overall repairs. Some repairs are more complex than others and may take more than one visit to be fully repaired. So we’re looking at including timescales for follow on works. 

This means repair timescales will be more realistic. Customers will be much clearer on when all parts of a repair will be complete.

Making processes more efficient

We want to make sure that our processes are as efficient as possible and we're always looking for ways to improve. We’ve recently amended the way we approach and process TV aerial repairs. Now, customers aren’t facing unnecessary delays and we can get the job done more quickly.


We asked customers what training they would like to see our colleagues focus on and they said:

  • Managing unacceptable behaviour
  • Customer rights
  • Letter writing
  • Customer referrals to managers

We have a colleague training hub called ‘creating a positive complaints culture’. We’re working with customers to design these new modules. If you’d like to get involved, get in touch.

Developing our properties

We have had quite a lot of feedback through complaints about the way we develop and build our properties.

It’s often difficult to change existing buildings (though we always do our best to rectify issues). However, we can use this feedback to shape future developments. A group of customers have supported us to develop design standards.

Some of their recommendations are:

  • Avoid sloping gardens wherever possible
  • Continue to build properties that don’t separate social housing residents and private residents
  • Consider how we use third party management agreements. Make every effort to ensure they are with companies who share our values and priorities
  • Ensure social and private housing are developed to the same level

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.

What our customers say

Our customer scrutiny groups continue to give us feedback on what we could do better. We’re ensuring complaint owners have a tight grip on complaints and are accountable. Top tips on how we can do this from our scrutiny groups below:

  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Just own up and apologise. As long as you were trying hard and your intentions were good, it will work out
  • Be careful of how you use language. Sometimes it can sound like colleagues are blaming customers
  • Find out who subject matter experts are and ask for advice
  • Be clear about follow-on-works and timescales

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