Caring for customers is at the heart of everything Yorkshire Housing’s repairs and maintenance division HomeWorks does every day.
It is locked into the DNA of the service from recruitment so that the work they do goes way beyond mere repairs.
Staff have sat with vulnerable people until emergency services arrived and reported safeguarding issues.
It means HomeWorks has some remarkable customer satisfaction scores, including 91 per cent for responsive repairs.
Electrical and facilities services manager Peter Rowbotham said it comes from the culture they encourage.
“We’re evangelical about customer service,” he said. “If you want somebody to lay bricks, then that’s fine.
“But if you want someone to care for customers, then that’s a completely different matter that requires a completely different character.”
An example is a recent routine electrical services check on a home in the Bradford area.
Staff went up into the loft and found a noose hanging from the rafters – which was immediately reported as a safeguarding issue.
This culture starts at recruitment and Peter said: “When we recruit people on the electrical side, the questions we ask at interview are all non-technical.
“It’s all about teamwork, what they consider to be good customer service and scenarios around the difficulties of working in occupied premises.
“They can show certificates showing they’re an electrician, and if we set them on, I’ll know within a month whether they’re an electrician or not.
“What we’re more interested in is the calibre of the person.
“If I’ve got someone who’s the right kind of person, I’d send them to college to train them because you can teach someone how to be an electrician.
“But you can’t teach someone how to be a good person. You can’t teach values.”
HomeWorks is Yorkshire Housing’s own internal repairs and maintenance contractor and has about 160 staff, from plumbers to joiners, gas engineers and grounds maintenance workers.
- Customer feedback from recent work done by the electrical and facilities services team includes the following:
“Very polite and friendly. Did a quick job and helped book further job around a disabled adult. Much appreciated.”
“Well, they were very polite and very nice. They came, did the job and then they went, so all in all it was a 10 (out of 10). I am completely satisfied. The guy who came and did the job was fantastic and he cleared up after himself.”
“They’ve never let us down, always been on time, called before they’ve actually come to the property and the work is always completed. As I say, mess kept to a minimum and they’ve always left everything clean and tidy and just got on with it. Very friendly and helpful. I can’t really fault them.”