I often watch programmes like Comic Relief, Children in Need, Sports Relief, etc, when they are on, but for some reason watching Comic Relief this year had a bigger impact on me.
Maybe it’s the cumulative effect of all the negative stuff going on in the world: Brexit, Trump, Farage’s constant TV appearances, the Westminster terror attack, public sector cuts, increasing homelessness, this list goes on as you know.
Watching the footage of the UK projects tackling dementia, loneliness, self-harm, domestic abuse, homelessness, I asked myself what more can I do to tackle these issues, donating £10 by text just didn’t seem enough.
I feel very strongly that housing is the cornerstone to everything else in life so I’m fortunate to work in a sector that has an opportunity to make a real difference to all these issues. And watching Comic Relief reminded me that we must never lose focus on our work to help as many people as possible have really great lives; with so many distractions out there (see above), that can be easy to do.
So that got me thinking, how do we maintain this focus? Our focus is often driven by business plans, KPIs and other targets, but these concentrate almost entirely on what the business needs to succeed, rather than what our customers need.
There’s a lot of talk of customer experience in the sector at the moment, if we’re really serious about putting customers at the heart of everything we do, shouldn’t this be reflected in our KPIs?
So rather than measuring rent collected, re-let time, ASB cases closed, number of evictions, repairs cost per unit, etc, maybe we could measure if our customers have enough money to live on, how many families we house from temporary accommodation, how long they had to wait for their new home, the cost of moving in, if customers know their neighbours, how many days it is since our older customers have seen another person, how many customers move out due to dissatisfaction or because there was a better offer with another landlord, you get the idea.
The housing sector already does fantastic work to offer much more than just a roof over someone’s head, and it’s vital that we never lose our focus as the number of people needing our help only ever seems to increase.