NHMF Awards 2022 - Most Innovative Property Service Shortlist: Cloch HA & McGill
Realtime Repair Appointment Integration
What as the project?
Real-time Repair Appointment Integration between Clients and Contractors systems to provide repair appointments with tenants in real-time. The Project was to deliver an enhanced service to Cloch Housing Association’s tenants to allow any who call Cloch with a repair to be offered a repair appointment date and time without having to be diverted to the contractor and ask the same questions again. Previously there was no interface to look up appointments in real time. The project allows Frontline staff in Cloch Housing to check for appointment availability from the association's repair system (SDM) in the contractor’s repair system (Jobwatch, by BigChange) in real-time, while the tenant is on the phone and then send the appointment to the contractor system using the appointment space selected. The tenant would then be sent a text message by the contractor to confirm the appointment has been received. The text message would also provide an option to confirm the appointment or add comments and freephone number to speak to the contractor if the repair appointment needs to be changed in the future. Having logged the call and made the initial appointment with the client, the tenant can then deal with the contractor for any rearrangement, further reducing administration with the client. Any Appointment updates by the contractor are notified back to the client electronically.
What was innovative about the service provided?
An interface that allowed Cloch’s frontline staff to look up appointments with the contractor in real-time and booked so that the tenant does not need to be transferred to the contractor to explain the problem again. It also allows the tenant to interact directly with the contractor about the repair appointment.
What are the measurable benefits to the client, the contractor, the resident and the neighbourhood?
The interface provides a direct increase in Cloch’s repairs by appointment metric, considered to directly provide a positive effect on customer satisfaction within repairs. One KPI is for the business to measure how well the contractor attended Responsive Maintenance (RM) appointments on time. It determines how effective the Service Provider is at keeping to the proportion of RM appointments during the Measurement Period (no. of RM appointments kept expressed as a percentage of the total no. of RM appointments made within the Measurement Period). The contractor is required to attend within the date and time slot agreed with the tenant when the appointment is made. Most appointments will be within a two-hour time slot. Cloch carried out a random survey of recent tenants who had a repair completed by a prearranged appointment via the association. All responses were reported as very positive 3 examples of customer feedback as below:
- It’s far easier knowing when the contractor is attending and not worrying about missing a visit and it was felt the service provided was quicker and more efficient.
- Again, far easier making the appointment with Cloch in the first instance and knowing that the problem would be sorted and not worrying about missing calls to make an arrangement. It was felt that getting a repair done was easier
- Far easier knowing what was going on with the repair and knowing what date and time the issue would be sorted.
Cloch’s experience is that tenants are overwhelmingly positive about the service
What are the financial costs and measurable cashable benefits over a defined time period?
The focus on this service is not to provide a cost benefit, but to provide enhanced customer service. However, by making confirmed appointments, this can have an improved efficiency with the contractor as there is less chance of a ‘No Access’ visit for a repair. The contractor looked at September as a month and found out that ‘No Accesses’ accounted for up to 7% of the visits it attended, accounting for 167 hours across all clients and specifically for Cloch, 19 hours (onsite and travel time combined). Even this small amount of hours for Cloch equates to a net cost to the company of almost £500 in the month, which is an efficiency that can allow that money to reinvested into the business to benefit both the client and their tenants in the future.
How relevant is this as an example that might be followed by other organisations?
In principle the opportunity to deliver a better service to tenants in this way can be used by any repair service provider. As can be seen from the September review of total jobs there would a significant improvement in service to tenants and efficiency for the contractor. From 4652 jobs issued in September, 320 were ‘No Access’, accounting for 167 hours of lost labour in terms of onsite time and travel. Planning appointments that are confirmed would be expected to reduce this by 90%, delivering a better service to 231 tenants. 51 of these tenants had multiple visits and 15 had 3 or more. These jobs in particular have a high cost attached when one arranged appointment could have saved multiple visits. In addition to the costs of tradesmen, there is the administration saving, booking jobs multiple times increases administration overhead and can do the same for the association as there would be communication back and forward to keep them updated on ‘No Accesses’.