People power: The core skills vital for regulatory compliance and high TSM scores

People power: The core skills vital for regulatory compliance and high TSM scores

 

People power: The core skills vital for regulatory compliance and high TSM scores

14th March 2024

Housing Sector

Social housing organisations are embracing and working with several key changes in 2024 to conform to regulatory requirements. When working closely with our customers in the sector, we can appreciate the importance of working positively and productively to meet the expectations laid out in consumer standards, the Tenant Satisfaction Measures, the Ombudsman’s Complaint Handling Code and the newly emerging professional standards from the Chartered Institute of Housing.  

The focus on social housing organisations shows the high levels of knowledge and technical expertise required to meet regulator and tenant expectations in all aspects of service delivery. This focus has also shown the importance of the people aspects of delivering great service.  

A foundation mindset and excellent communication skills
  

All of these regulatory requirements are based on the need for people in social housing organisations to work effectively together to provide the best service possible to meet the expectations of regulatory bodies and, very importantly, the expectations of tenants, residents, customers, partners and colleagues. Whether it’s excelling at leadership and management, delivering excellent service in sometimes challenging situations, liaising with customers, colleagues or suppliers, managing feedback and resolving dissatisfaction or complaints, there is a foundation mindset and set of communication skills that will stand everyone in very good stead.  

If everyone in your organisation felt truly empowered to take ownership and responsibility for their role, to find solutions for any challenge or issue and collaborate brilliantly with colleagues, there would be an excellent underpinning culture to deliver service to a very high standard.  

Gaining valuable insight 

Looking across your organisation and listening in to conversations between colleagues, conversations with suppliers and customers can provide valuable insight into whether the culture to support excellent service is in place.  

It may seem obvious to say that managing the technical or task demands of meeting and exceeding tenant expectations can be significantly improved if everyone in the organisation is equipped with excellent people skills. Being highly skilled in how we deliver this expertise can be the tipping point for positive tenant perception versus negative perception which can lead to potential complaints.  

If everyone in your organisation felt truly empowered to take ownership and responsibility for their role there would be an excellent underpinning culture to deliver service to a very high standard.  


Focusing on the people aspects of service
 

In our experience, equipping people with the ability to manage how they start an interaction with a tenant, how they respond to any request, question, complaint, criticism or feedback and especially how they communicate in a solution-focused, empathetic manner, drives either positive, ambivalent or negative perceptions. Listening in to conversations or reading communications with tenants is usually very revealing. It can give you an excellent barometer on whether there is an appropriate focus on the people aspects of giving service so that the tenant feels valued, listened to, cared for and respected.  

Increasing Tenant Satisfaction Measure scores
 

At a granular level, everyday interactions with tenants can provide insight into how likely it is that they will score your organisation highly against the Tenant Satisfaction Measures, with the challenging requests, questions or complaints giving the most valuable insight.  

How well do your people deliver disappointing news to a tenant or tell them they are unable to offer exactly what the tenant is asking for?

If your team can build positive, collaborative and respectful relationships in these challenging situations, it is likely that they will do the same in less demanding situations. To check this as a barometer to evaluate the underpinning service ethos in your organisation, when a colleague needs to say no or deliver disappointing news to a tenant, do they: 

  • Start with what is possible before saying what they are not able to do? 
  • Focus on options, alternatives and a way forward rather than on policy and procedures that explain why they are not able to do what the tenant wants? 
  • Explain what is possible first and then what is not possible so that the tenant is clear on their options?  
  • Demonstrate empathy for any disappointment or dissatisfaction without criticising the organisation? 
  • Ensure at the end of any conversation, there is a clear way forward that the tenant understands and has bought in to? 
  • Escalate appropriately if they are unsure of the best steps for the tenant and the organisation? 

Confidence and capability
 

In these challenging situations, service culture is defined, perceptions are formed, and trust is either built or undermined. Being empowered to handle these situations so that they are conversations people are confident to handle rather than being worried about or avoiding them lays a vital foundation for excellent tenant satisfaction.
 

Book a chat with us to find out how our proven Mindset, Language & Actions Toolkit can equip your social housing frontline teams with the skills they need to consistently deliver excellent customer service, whatever comes their way.

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