Last updated 22/08/2012
Connect is the contact centre, based at Turner House in Leigh, which is the focal point for contact for customers of Adactus Housing Association, Beech Housing Association and Chorley Community Housing.
The Adactus Housing Group introduced a pilot contact centre in the autumn of 2009. By January 2010, almost all customer calls were being handled by the team at Turner House. In October 2010, the contact centre was branded as connect as part of the launch of the callconnect 0845 505 3355 and mobileconnect 0300 111 1133 phone numbers, providing all tenants with a low cost option for getting in touch.
In June 2011 connect was assessed against and achieved the Customer Contact Association's prestigious Global Standard for contact centres.
The connect team comprises 30 staff. It is headed by Tracey Adu, Group Contact Centre Manager. Tracey celebrated 25 years as an employee of the company in September 2011. She uses all of that experience on a daily basis to manage her team to provide an excellent and always improving call-handling service.
Karen Dollard is the Deputy Contact Centre Manager and responsible for repairs call handling. Karen joined Adactus in 2006 to manage customer services at the Miles Platting PFI office and moved to work in Leigh shortly after the contact centre was opened.
Christina Hughes is the Customer Services Manager (CSM) responsible for housing management call handling. Christina had worked in customer services and resident involvement roles for Adactus before joining connect.
Ceri Walker is CSM for Quality, with responsibility for monitoring the quality of the service connect provides and developing training, guidance and other information to support the team in its aim of resolving calls at the first point of contact. Ceri joined connect from CCH where she held management roles in customer services and housing management.
The connect team includes customer services officers (CSOs) who were already employed at Adactus when the contact centre was established and CSOs recruited since. CSOs work a mixture of duty patterns to ensure calls are handled 8am - 6pm, Monday to Friday.
Over half of the team have completed the Chartered Institute of Housing Level 2 qualification, providing them with formal training on our industry. All passed, with most achieving merits and distinctions. Some of the team have moved onto the Level 3 qualification, enjoying success at that qualification, too.
The connect team takes all repairs and housing management calls from customers of AHA, Beech and CCH, with the exception of housing management calls at the Miles Platting PFI, which continue to be handled by the local team based at the estate.
Customers calling the connect lines are asked to select 1) for a repair call or 2) for a call about any other issue. By splitting calls in this way, CSOs have been able to specialise, which has helped the newer staff become effective in their roles quickly. All established staff are receiving training in order to be able to take both kinds of calls.
Connect also takes calls to the Turner House switchboard. These are often calls from suppliers, partners and other businesses.
New CSOs have an induction programme, with a lot of training carried out sitting with an experienced CSO, listening and then being assisted taking calls. CSOs make use of Knowledgebase, which is a query system developed for connect which provides answers to over 100 queries that customers may call with.
The quality of call-handling is monitored by listening to recordings of a sample of calls. Each call listened to is scored using an assessment sheet developed with a team of tenant mystery shoppers. CSOs receive feedback from this monitoring to help them develop their skills. In September 2011, connect introduced Right First Time (RFT) Tracker - an automated questionnaire service that callers are invited to use at the end of a call to provide feedback on how their call was handled and whether their issue has been resolved. RFT Tracker is also used in place of paper and cold-call surveys to carry out other questionnaires.
The connect team's primary task is handling in-coming phone calls. Its role is much wider, however. It handles contacts from the company websites and in-coming emails sent to the company address. It has responsibility for responding to contacts by Facebook and Twitter. These channels, as well as text communication, are bound to grow in importance.
The connect team is also responsible for administering housing applications, helping prospective customers register for one of the local letting schemes (e.g. Manchester Housing Register, Select Move) and the Adactus housing registration list.
In 2011/12, connect answered over 170,000 calls. Over 80% of calls were answered within 15 seconds, meeting the target set for the service. Over 40% of calls were for the housing management team, with around one-third for the repairs call handlers.
The number of calls handled by connect has reduced. We believe this is because improvements to processes throughout the Group mean that the number of 'chasing up' calls made by customers is falling. The average length of calls has increased as the duties carried out by connect CSOs have broadened.
The RFT tracker survey shows that callers find over 70% of calls result in their query being resolved at the first point of contact. Connect will continue to work to improve this figure. Satisfaction with how connect staff deal with queries (drawn from the monthly RFT tracker survey) stands at around 95%.
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Updated by Athanasios Protopapas on 22/08/2012 10:05:16
Comment: Added callconnect and mobileconnect phone numbers to articleDetails: (show)
Chapter titled "Introduction to connect" content changed.
Updated by Chris Smith on 14/06/2012 11:53:16
Comment: Update for 2012/13 - roles, performance data.Details: (show)
Chapter titled "The connect team" content changed.
Chapter titled "Call-handling at connect" content changed.
Chapter titled "Contacts (not just calls)" content changed.
Chapter titled "Call volumes and performance" content changed.