Plymouth Community Homes is delighted to have retained the prestigious Customer Service Excellence accreditation for a third consecutive year in recognition of its customer-focused culture.
The coveted national quality mark was awarded after a rigorous assessment process was carried out earlier this year to review how well PCH manages customer services, and how the organisation supports residents and listens to their views.
The CSE award recognises organisations which have a truly customer-focused culture, with an impartial assessor reviewing how well organisations comply against each element of the standard, with on-site visits and an audit carried out.
An independent assessor spent two days in Plymouth meeting with PCH staff based at Plumer House as well as visiting estates and service centres across the city, including at The Beacon, Brock House, Abbey Court, the Barbican and the city centre shop. The assessor met with residents and shadowed staff, including Community Workers, Housing Officers, Rangers, Tenancy Support Officers, Communication Officers, and Customer Advisors in the contact centre.
The Customer Service Excellence Centre for Assessment (CfA) gave PCH a glowing report, saying the organisation had “demonstrated exceptional understanding of the problems effecting the citizens of Plymouth created during the pandemic, and latterly by the cost of living crisis and increase in energy costs.”
The assessor found PCH met the standard across 57 areas of compliance, and even awarded an additional recognition of Compliance Plus for Customer Service Excellence for how well PCH consults with its customers about improving services, and shares the results and actions taken, and how well the organisation values the contribution staff make to delivering customer-focused services.
Only one observation was made in all 57 areas of compliance where a minor improvement was suggested.
The report said PCH’s level of consultation with both staff and customers was “unusual and an example of best practice”.
Key strengths highlighted in the report included the channels of communication available to both staff and customers, including the intranet Jannet, the tenant portal MyPCH and the recently relaunched website, which was more user-friendly and easier to navigate, as well as the “knowledgeable and friendly” advisors working in the Contact Centre who placed an emphasis on call quality.
There was also praise for the work carried out by the 82 Rangers employed by PCH who work as part of the Environmental Services team across the city, and who the assessor described as being “also the eyes and ears of PCH, and well trained in customer care”.
PCH’s apprenticeship scheme was singled out for plaudits, along with the organisation’s “robust complaints process” which the assessor felt was balanced by a well-used compliments process.
The “excellent lines of communication with customers” were highlighted – but the assessor felt the “most valuable” tool used by PCH was the face-to-face daily contact provided by front line staff across the city and customer help points.
The report said PCH’s work to support tenants struggling with the cost-of-living crisis and debt was “excellent”, and there was an “amazing” level of refurbishment and new builds taking place on PCH sites.
Natasha Kirkham, Quality Assurance Manager at PCH, said: “This is a fantastic result and we are grateful to the teams across PCH for their valuable input during the assessment process and for spending time with the assessor to show him the work we do to support our customers.
“The Customer Service Excellence accreditation is a very prestigious award, and it is hugely rewarding that PCH has once again met the standard for the third year in a row.”
Angie Edwards-Jones, Head of Customer Experience and Assurance at PCH, added: “Putting our customers first is at the heart of everything we do at PCH, and we are always trying to improve our customer services. Receiving this quality standard for the third consecutive year is a fantastic accolade which recognises how much effort our staff put in to ensuring our work is truly customer focused.
“We are especially proud to have received the additional recognition of Compliance Plus for how well we consult with our customers and feedback on outcomes, as well as the contribution our staff make to delivering customer-focused services, and how the leaders, managers and staff across PCH demonstrate these behaviours.”