We continue to focus on how we deal with complaints to ensure a consistent and effective approach. Following a self-assessment against the Complaint Handling Code, which has been produced by the Housing Ombudsman (the sector body that has an overview of complaints), we have identified further actions that will improve our approach. These actions will include:
- developing an agreed approach to how we deal with complaints on social media; and how we support Riverside Customer Voice Executive (RCVE) members when they receive customer complaints on RCVE social media channels
- reviewing our Customer Feedback Procedure
- introducing a revised Complaints Policy
Learning from complaints
During the last financial Year 2021/2022, there have been seven determinations where there has been a finding of service failure.
These complaints have resulted this change of practice as detailed below:
- We launched a new Complaints Policy in September 2021 which included changes to inform customers how they may receive a complaint response from complaint handlers across the business including Evolve and Riverside Direct.
- We have introduced additional refresher training on complaints handling after recommendations from the Housing Ombudsman.
- We have developed operational reporting to improve visibility around gas servicing performance.
- The Housing Ombudsman also made a recommendation to review how we process rent refunds and communicate timescales to customers. In December, we developed a performance report which allows team leaders to monitor the processing of rent refunds. This report includes the time of processing a refund and an officer audit trail of the refund.
Additional learnings, which have not come from Housing Ombudsman reviews, for different business areas include:
- Evolve has made changes to its asbestos process to manage customers’ expectations far better with ‘a what to expect’ guide. They have changed this due to an increase in complaints regarding damage to wallpaper during asbestos removal.
- Our Disrepair Roadshows have helped inform teams across Riverside about the role of the team and how they can assist with complex cases. Future party wall complaints are being monitored to confirm if they are reaching the right team within the first 24 hours to ensure customers are not being passed around departments when trying to make contact regarding these issues.
- As a result of complaints from customers who were dissatisfied when reporting defects and repairing obligations, we have now formalised a process at Riverside Home Ownership (RHO), which means that the sales team will handle all queries up to four weeks post completion. After that, the sales team will handover to Housing Management who will own the customer and subsequent queries.
Our Building Safety Teams have introduced a new operating model which includes the creation of a Customer Resolution Team with responsibility for managing all customer complaints, aiming for an improved customer focused service.