Our vision is simple; we want to place you at the heart of everything we do. We want to understand your needs, and to listen and learn from your experiences. We want to be clear what service standards your should expect, having worked with customer to agree these standards.
Our first strategic objective is:
Service that puts our customers first.
Where we get things wrong, we want to understand the impact this causes, and be clear about how we are going to put it right. We want you to be able to confidently challenge our service delivery and we enable this by making information accessible and transparent as well as having robust mechanisms in place for engagement, scrutiny and decision making.
Trends have indicated customers would like us to:
- make it easy for you to contact us, providing choice in how you make contact
- make contact with us when it’s convenient for you
- be clear on how and when you can expect services to be delivered
- wherever possible, get it right first time
- tell you when we get it wrong, and work with you to put it right
- retain a personal touch
- be empathetic and not judgemental
- deliver access more services online
We are working towards four key outcomes to ensure that we truly put the ‘customer first’ and to provide cost effective services. These are:
- To provide a range of effective and easy to use communication methods in which our customers can contact us
- Responsive and customer focussed services, demonstrated through positive customer feedback.
- Mutually agreed service standards – so that customers know what they can expect.
- An open and transparent complaints process, with evidenced learning from where we got it wrong.
We will achieve these outcomes by working with customers, listening to their views and ideas and designing services people want to use. Most importantly, when we have done this we will give feedback to evidence that our customers views are taken into account.
Customer service standards
Our passion is delivering high quality customer services so we aim to:
- Be helpful, polite and accessible, identifying and addressing specific needs sensitively and fairly
- Respect privacy and confidentiality
- Deal with enquiries promptly and give timely information that is accurate, comprehensive and complete
- Actively encourage and welcome customer feedback
To support these we will:
- Display our opening times and out of hours contact details
- Ensure our online services can easily be found on our website
- Make more of our services available online
- Always try to resolve your enquiry at the first point of contact
- Deliver what we promise, dealing with any problems that arise and keep you informed of any delay
- Treat all matters fairly, sensitively and in confidence
- Put things right when they go wrong
- Maximise the use of email and SMS Text in our written correspondence, but use another method if it is your preference or a statutory requirement.
- Listen to you and understand how best to deal with your needs, learning from what you tell us
- Work to improve the information we have about our customers so that we can tailor services to individual needs
- Work with partner organisations to provide help and support to our vulnerable customers
- Provide face to face customer contact points and appointments
- Provide access to IT via community rooms and Housing Offices
- Provide a dedicated Income telephone line to discuss your rent account.
- Use feedback to shape the service we deliver
Our standards - in person
Whether you visit Derby Homes offices, or we come to you. We will:
- Be accessible and visible, introducing ourselves by name and department
- Keep to agreed appointment times and if we have to cancel we will re-book a time that suits us both
- Where possible not visit customers unannounced.
- Provide a safe, tidy and clean environment to visit and use
- Provide a welcoming, polite and professional service
Our standards - by phone
Whether you call or text us we will:
- Answer calls efficiently during service opening hours
- Always answer the phone giving the appropriate corporate greeting
- Provide a welcoming, polite and professional service
- If we can’t deal with your enquiry immediately, we’ll take a message so that the right person can call you back
- Where voicemail is used, our messages will give helpful and current details and we will respond to your message by no later than the end of the next working day. (5pm)
Our standards - in writing
Whether you send an email or us an on line form, we will:
- Respond to all written enquiries within 10 working days. This means either:
- A full response to your enquiry or
- If we need to take longer to give a fuller response, we’ll tell you why and what the next steps are
- Automatically acknowledge emails or online form requests, providing information about any next steps
- Write clearly and concisely, so that information is easy to read and understand
- Include a named contact person and phone numbers in our correspondence
Our standards - self-service
Whether online using ‘My Account’, or our website, we will:
- Operate secure online services, where your personal data is safe
- Provide clear information about how to contact us in other ways, if you need support
- Acknowledge online service requests within 1 working day
- Respond to on line enquiries within 2 working days
Our standards - on social media
Whether you keep in touch with us on Facebook or other sites, such as Twitter, we will:
- Provide a range of social media accounts, giving real-time information to customers and providing additional ways for customers to engage with us
Exceptions to standard timescales
Although we have corporate Derby Homes Customer Service Standards, there are instances where specific processes, statutory timescales or additional standards will apply for particular service areas. For example:
- Freedom of Information requests
- Customer Feedback and Complaints
- MP and Councillor enquires
- Legal action
What we expect from our customers
- Explain the nature of your enquiry as clearly and briefly as possible
- Provide as much detail as possible in a timely manner
- Explain what outcome you wish to achieve
- Let us know if you no longer require a service, or wish to cancel an appointment we have previously made for you
- Inform us of any change in circumstances like your status, contact numbers and email address
- Tell us if we exceed your expectations or don’t deliver a service to your satisfaction
- Treat us with courteously, with respect and be polite
Ali: Digital Helper
You may have noticed a new launch button when visiting our website. When you click on it, a chat window will open and you can start a conversation with our digital helper: Ali.
The digital helper is an additional service that complements the other ways you can contact us. Ali uses Conversational AI to understand what you ask and reply to you in a human-like way. As well as webchat, you'll also speak to Ali when you call us.
Using the digital helper on the website
Ali can answer best if your questions are written clearly. Use four words or more, but don't make them too long. If you don't get the answer you're looking for, try typing it a different way.
You can ask questions about things like:
- rent and other payments
- money and benefit advice
- homefinder and housing options
- tenancy-related queries.
Ali will continually learn and improve on how well they answer questions. The range of subjects and related knowledge will also increase over time.
Speaking to Ali on the phone
You don't need to do anything differently. When you call us, Ali will try to help you. If Ali can't help, they will direct your call to the right person.
In the past, our phone system used a recorded message that gave you a list of numbered options. You had to press the option number for the team you think might be able to help you. Ali will have a conversation with you to find out what you're after and then transfer your call to the team that can help, if needed.
Why are we using AI?
Using artificial intelligence on our website and our phones means we can offer you 24/7, real-time support to answer your questions and get the information you need. It should mean you don't have to wait or need to know who to contact. If Ali can’t help with your query, you'll be passed to the appropriate service during opening hours. Opening hours vary.
It also helps us improve efficiency. By automating how we deal with routine tasks and common enquiries, we can free up staff time to focus on more complex issues and provide a more personalised service to you when you need it.
Conversational AI is a form of artificial intelligence that allows machines to understand and interpret natural language and engage in human-like conversation with people. AI systems are trained on huge amounts of data, which is used to teach the system how to understand human language and interact in a natural way.
It's an exciting new technology that allows you to communicate with us using an AI-driven digital helper. Think of it like having your own personal assistant who can help you in real time with common enquiries and tasks 24/7. It means you can get quick and accurate answers to questions and access information at any time, whether you prefer to do things online or call.