80% improvement in customer ratings of housing estates and flats following establishment of mystery shopping and co-regulation service at no extra cost.
Richard was given the task of improving the condition of estates and communal areas of flats within a defined management area, which had been identified as being in a poor condition by local residents, Councillors and the MP.
In order to fully understand the severity of the situation, Richard wanted to see the estates for himself and arranged to undertake a number of mystery shopping visits, with staff, customers and sometimes on his own.
Richard returned from these information and evidence gathering sessions, with photographs, videos and notes of the issues he had found, and presented these to the local manager.
A desktop review determined that there was no quality or performance improvement framework in place. Estate inspections where measured on whether the member of staff had attended or not, rather than the quality outcomes of their visit.
Richard quickly developed a new framework of estate grading, independently monitored by customer representatives and feeding into a central team. A baseline of grades were determined and used to establish improvement targets for the coming year. The framework was equipped with a number of triggers for action, and also supported by a local environmental improvement action plan, used to report activity back to Area Tenant Panels and the Tenant Scrutiny Executive. Before and after photographs were used to evidence the improvements, alongside feedback from customers.
Lower graded estates received more frequent "mystery shops" from the group of fully trained tenant inspectors, and their findings fed directly into the tenant scrutiny panel as part of the co-regulation agenda.
The use of photographic and video evidence, documented by narrative digital recordings describing findings became an easy and effective way to quickly demonstrate estate issues. Often these were emailed directly back to the office from site, in order for action to commence immediately. Equally, this approach was used to monitor the standards and performance of contractors delivering services such as grounds maintenance, cleaning and repairs.
Richard has developed similar schemes elsewhere and Callidus Management Consulting offers the service of either coordinating this type of approach with tenants for you, or undertaking the mystery shopping directly for you.
The whole approach ensured that there was a culture of local accountability and that managers, staff and customers were able to use an evidence based approach to target activity and resources onto their estates in order to improve the standards.