County Durham Housing Group

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County Durham Housing Group

County Durham Housing Group

How County Durham Housing Group (formely East Durham) Transformed their Customer Service

County Durham Housing Group is one of the largest housing associations in the north east of England. It was set up as an ALMO in April 2004 and took on responsibility for the management of the 8,600 homes and tenancies of Easington District Council and places a great amount of emphasis on providing a local housing service to fit local housing needs. Customer Service is therefore a very important part of what they do.

The Challenge

In July 2007, an Audit Commission assessment concluded that County Durham Housing Group provided only a fair, one-star service. For an organisation focused on delivering excellent service to all, this was a wake-up call. The Group embarked on a significant transformation, focusing on key areas including Accessibility and the quality of Customer Care.

The Solution

A key part of this transformation was the deployment of Keyfax Inter•View. Realising that significant changes had to be made, County Durham Housing Group surveyed their customers to find out what they wanted and what they could do differently.

The feedback was very clear; over two thirds preferred to contact the Group by telephone. So, to significantly improve customer service, it all had to start at the first point of contact – in the contact centre. They consulted with Solihull Community Housing to understand how they managed customer enquiries and were introduced to Keyfax Inter•View.

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This discovery process was very important for us, it enabled us to understand how other organisations provided service excellence to their customers and how they utilised technology to do this.

Gary Lormor Customer Services Manager, County Durham Housing Group

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County Durham Housing GroupAfter a comprehensive review of available solutions, Keyfax Inter•View was selected, as the Group felt this solution was closely aligned to the specific needs of social housing and had a proven track record within a wide range of housing organisations. The initial project was started in January 2009, with a focus on housing repairs, and in just six months the solution went live with Keyfax Inter•View providing full contact management for the Group’s contact centre.

County Durham Housing Group has continued to expand their customer interaction from repairs to incorporate a wide range of other services, including: rents; anti-social behaviour; tenancy enforcement; estate management; tenancy management and; more recently, choice-based letting. This has not only providing a single point of call for customers, but also relieved the burden on service team specialists, helping to break down areas of demarcation between the contact centre and service teams, creating a more integrated process across the front and back office.

With this has come a greater ability to improve and streamline these processes. By adding functionality, they can now also track cases across departments and make sure every promise made to customers is kept.

The Results

The results speak for themselves; in just two years, the Audit Commission changed their assessment of County Durham Housing Group to a good, two-star service.

Keyfax has helped improve customer service delivery in a wide range of areas, including:

  • Accessibility & Quality of Service – as noted by the Audit Commission in 2009, “Resident satisfaction is high and improving.”
  • Consistency In Service Delivery – with each advisor having access to the same tools and knowledge to deliver a consistent and fair service to customers.
  • Fully Joined-Up Service – with each and every interaction being logged, advisors have full visibility of previous conversations, promises made and open cases, enabling them to manage not just the enquiry but also the relationship.
  • Increased First Contact Resolution – with statistics showing a significant improvement in first call resolution, now up to 89%.

Through integrated contact management, the contact centre has significantly reduced calls associated with chasing open cases. In addition, the increase in first contact resolution has enabled the contact centre to increase capacity and take on additional services. Keyfax has also helped County Durham Housing Group in the area of training and development of advisors; previously a significant challenge.

What our client said about Omfax

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We found it very easy to understand and implement the Keyfax System. The Omfax team were excellent and quickly transferred the knowledge and understanding of the system to our people, so they could build and tailor processes in-house. This not only allowed us to hit our tight timescales but also to continually expand and improve the system. We resolve far more enquiries on the first call, we keep the promises we make to our customers and we have a joined-up organisation. But what is more significant, we have a platform and a solution on which we can continue to make improvements; we are no longer focused on the number of calls we can handle, but the quality of these calls. This allows us to continually develop the service we deliver to our customers and ensures we never stand still.

Gary Lormor Customer Services Manager, County Durham Housing Group

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