Mears has been re-accredited withthe Customer Service Excellence (CSE) standard, a Government backed accreditation scheme that places customers firmly at the centre of the services they receive. Mears was the first major repairs and maintenance contractor to receive this coveted accreditation in June 2012. Since then all of Mears’ housing branches and staff have been working hard to ensure that they not only maintain but improve their standards of customer service.The reaccreditation process focussed on five key areas: customer insight, the culture of the organisation, information and access, delivery and timeliness and quality of service. Eight branches were involved in the process and a desk top review was also undertaken which looked at documents covering 19 elements within the five standards together with an audit of branch website pages.The assessors identified many strengths and examples of Good and Best Practice that showed the commitment of Mears to not only meeting customer expectations butexceeding them. All branches now work to the CSE framework, this enables staff to focus on the way they engage with customers and supports them to deliver outstanding services.A particular strength highlighted was the commitment, engagement, and motivation of the staff. It was noted that staff frequently went ‘the extra mile’ to make sure that customers received the services they needed and expected. Both staff and customer felt valued with customers actively involved in monitoring and developing the services. Customer Care Managers showed real passion and communicated the importance of customer care to all staff.Assessors noted that the customer feedback and satisfaction surveys carried out by asert, a joint venture between Mears and TAROE, the Tenants and Residents Organisations of England, who employ tenants to scrutinise services were examples of best practice. The surveys are carried out after the completion of a job and they give customers the opportunity to provide their views to independent researchers. The results are used to drive improvements and ensure that services respond to and meets the needs of the customer.Alan Long, Executive Director, Mears said: “I’m proud that Mears has been reaccredited with the Customer Service Excellent standard. It is a testament to the hard work of our staff and our belief that customers must be are at the heart of everything we do. Ensuring outstanding customer service is an ongoing process and we continually look for ways that we can improve, consult and engage with customers to deliver the services they not only need but want. The commitment to serving our communities runs through every Mears branch and I know that all our staff will continue to strive to improve service levels for all our customers.”Other examples of Good and Best Practice included:
- South Cambridge branch, client: South Cambridgeshire District Council - excellent customer service.
- Maidstone branch, client: Town and Country Housing - user friendly quarterly reporting of performance and satisfaction levels on the TCHG website.
- East Kent Housing - creating customer-friendly publications including the Repair Handbook.
- Richmond branch, client: Richmond Housing Partnership (RHP) - offering a handyperson service for new tenants.
- Manchester Working Ltd branch, major client: Northwards Housing - well established relationship with client which was outstanding and creating emergency card telling staff what to do if they find children home alone.
- Leeds branch, client: Housing Leeds South & West and Belle Isle Tenant Management Organisation – ‘Signed with Pride’ leaflet which is left with customers after every repair and includes details of any follow-up work.
- Home Group North East branch, client: Home Group - received compliance plus for ‘Serving our Communities’ work, the branch delivers the highest number of community engagement projects in the UK including transforming the gardens at Homeside Lodge, an Extra Care Dementia Home in Wallsend.
- Manchester Wardley branch, client: Contour Homes – ‘Trusted Advisor Development Event’ for 12 staff from Mears, Contour Homes and gas contractor PH Jones that built trust, teamwork and understanding between the partners.