Meet Victoria, a Customer Service Advisor
Victoria Copsey joined Town & Country Housing just over two years ago as a Customer Service Advisor, having previously worked as a Divorce Clerk at the County Courts. She tells us what it’s like to work in our Customer Service Centre.
“When we start as a Customer Service Advisor (CSA), our first two weeks are spent learning about social housing, how our computer systems work and we shadow teams across the organisation to understand all the different aspects of the business.
“We’re also buddied up with another member of the Customer Service team to learn about customer service and the wide range of queries that come up. When our Team Leader thinks we’re ready, we then start taking calls.”
More than just a receptionist
“We’re trained to advise customers about a range of topics as we have a really broad knowledge. The training doesn’t stop when we start taking calls; we have regular meetings with all of the departments to make sure our knowledge is always up to date.
“When the phone rings in the Customer Service Centre, a free advisor will answer the call so we never know what the issue might be. We sit in the middle of our customer-facing Operations team and work closely with all teams so that we know when a member of staff has written to tenants for a particular reason.
“There are lots of different areas of the business and we take calls covering them all. This includes queries about:
- Homes and tenancies
- Reports of anti-social behaviour and problems with neighbours
- Rent payments and setting payment plans
- Letting new homes
- Reporting defects for new homes
- Shared ownership
- My Home Online, our customer portal
- New developments
- Private rentals
- Service charges
- Mutual exchanges
- Our back office teams like finance
“Although customers often call in wanting to speak to someone specifically, for instance their Neighbourhood Housing Manager (NHM) or Income Manager (IM), we can usually deal with the issue ourselves. This means that the customer gets their answer straightaway, often without them having to wait for a call back, as many of our staff are out and about on our estates visiting customers.
“A member of the team also sits on our reception desk each morning, helping visitors with booked appointments. This could be customers coming to see their NHM and IM or people from other organisations who have meetings with our back-office staff.”
Online customer service
“We do more than just answer the telephone and greet people; we manage the responses to the customer enquiry form that is available on our website and if we can’t resolve the issue, we pass it onto the right person. We also manage the emails that come into the business’s main inbox.
“We recently set up a webchat facility on our website which allows customers to chat with us online about a problem. We deal with enquiries in exactly the same way as if they called us but it means we can send the customer links to information while they’re on their smartphone or computer. It’s been really popular with customers so far and we hope others will try it out too as it saves them a phone call but they still get the same service from us.
“In addition to dealing with enquiries, we also do some administration tasks, updating the housing benefit information on our system when tenants’ circumstances change and updating the details of new tenants on our database so that we have all their contact details available from the very start of their tenancy.
“We also call customers to survey them about our repairs service to make sure that we are giving a good service and identify any areas for improvement.
Improving our business for our customers
“CSAs also get involved in various projects to help improve the services for residents. I have been involved in:
- A workshop with residents to improve our repairs service
- Improving our computer systems
- Making forms available on our website
- Implementing webchat
- A workshop to redesign and streamline our services
“I really love helping customers on the phones and via webchat; it’s great to help people and resolve issues for them, but I also love being part of these projects too. When we’re involved in them, we try to look at improvements from the point of view of our customers and think about how things will affect them.”
“So the next time you call us or chat to us on webchat and see Victoria is speaking to you, you’ll be able to put a face to my name.”