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Learning from complaints – September 2023

staff in discussion during training session

It’s been another busy period for us when it comes to dealing with complaints, and the value of what we’re learning from each and every one of them is helping us to improve what we do.

However, we’re pleased to see that, overall, the number of complaints about repairs has fallen, showing that the changes we’ve made to the way we work with our contractors is helping us to provide a better service for customers.

Here’s a look at what we’ve learned from your complaints in the last few months, and if you’d like to remind yourself of our last update, you can see that here.

Grounds maintenance

We often see a rise in complaints about your estate services during the warmer months, especially with services like grounds maintenance, which includes things like grass cutting and cleaning of communal areas.

Coupled with the cost-of-living crisis, we understand that customers expect value for money on their service charges, and that we’re doing what we say we’ll do.

Over the last few months we’ve been working hard to get going with brand new contracts for these services, which includes a clearer outline of what we expect when our contractors visit.

As a result, there has been some teething problems and some questions about these standards, and we’ve been speaking with lots of customers about this.

To refresh your memory on what’s included in our grounds maintenance services, take a look at our website, which includes a link to a form where you can leave us some feedback about how we’re doing in this area.

Now that we’re a few months into these new contracts, the team that looks after estate services is currently doing a review of how things have gone so far and what customers are telling us so that we can make sure we’re delivering on our promises.

Complaint response times

We know that it can be frustrating to be kept waiting for a response to your complaint, and with the increased demand for this service, it has been a challenging time for us.

This has led to a drop in the amount of complaints we’ve responded to as quickly as we aim to, and we’re sorry to everyone who has been kept waiting for longer than we’d have liked. 

To help with this, we’re doing a review of how all of our teams look at complaints to make sure that we allow enough time during our working day to work on your complaints and do what we can to get them resolved faster.

In addition, we’re also looking to recruit new people who can work more closely with our contractors so that information sharing can be improved so that we can find out what’s gone wrong and how we can work together to put it right.

Case processing

Since May 2023, we have been working to implement a new system which helps us monitor complex customer enquiries more closely, helping us to have a better view of the progress we’re making.

This has been especially helpful during cases such as disrepair claims, where all communication between customers, ourselves and contractors is logged so that everyone can see all of the updates in one place.

Following some success with this system, we’re now looking to expand it for more types of issues such as damp, mould and condensation cases, so that we can deal with these more efficiently. We will be starting to implement this in September and October.

Waiting times

Lots of customers have told us that it can often take a long time to get through to us when you need us. This is mainly down to a big jump in calls relating to grounds maintenance, and helping customers who have had questions about the rent and service charge review announced earlier this year.

We fully appreciate how frustrating this must be, and our Scrutiny Panel have been helping us to find out more about why this is happening and what we can do to bring these waiting times down.

You can find out more about what we’re doing to improve our customer service experience here in our latest customer commitments blog [link when available].

These measures include focussing on staff retention, improved training, and making the most of our digital contact channels like MyHome to free up the phones.

We’re working closely with the Scrutiny Panel to let them know about our progress in this area, sharing information that shows how these changes are working to bring waiting times down.

If you’d like more information on complaints with us, including how to make one, everything you need to know is on our website here.

Managing expectations

We’ve recently made some changes to our complaints process and we wanted to make sure all of our customers are in the loop.

Previously our deadline was to respond to customers within two working days, but following consultation with customers, we’ve now extended that to five days.

We will, however, always try our hardest to respond within two.

You can find our updated complaints policy on our website.

Our team works hard to make sure we handle complaints within the guidance given by the Housing Ombudsman in the complaints handling code and always does its best to get back to with accurate responses as quick as they possibly can.

You can find more information about our complaints process on our website, and you can also find our self-assessment against the Complaints Handling Code.

Customer Complaints Panel

Our customer complaints panel is currently paused whilst we review new guidance from the Housing Ombudsman Service. We recommend that customers who would like an independent review of their complaint proceed straight to the Housing Ombudsman using the contact details below.

Our complaints guide:

Need more information about making a complaint? We've recently updated our Complaints Guide. It's available in 11 languages, large print and plain text for screen-readers. You can find all the versions on our complaints web page.

You'll also find new information in the guide about additional options to complain if you're aged 16&17 and living in supported housing.

Making a complaint

If something doesn’t feel right and you’d like to make a complaint, then you can: 

  • Talk to a member of our team 
  • Visit our website and complete a form 
  • Call us on 01202 319 119 
  • Email 
  • Send us a direct message on Twitter or Facebook 

OR write to us at: 

Stonewater Suite C, Lancaster House Grange Business Park Enderby Road Whetstone Leicester LE8 6EP 

You can find out more about making a complaint with us on our website here.

If you’re a Greenoak customer, you can: