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Our Voice

Posted on March 19, 2021

How we’re focusing on our customers and listening to complaints

At Calico Homes, we care about our customers.  We want to provide support that meets a variety of needs while delivering high quality, responsive and personalised services.

Since I joined Calico Homes back in May last year, I’ve seen numerous examples of my colleagues going the extra mile to do their best for our customers. They tell us that working for a caring organisation like Calico Homes, one that genuinely makes a difference to our communities, is what makes a good working day for them.

No organisation is immune to making mistakes, but the important thing is that we hold our hands up when we do – to engage, say sorry and do things differently next time so customers get a better experience.

I feel that the mistakes we make in life provide the most valuable learning opportunities and it should be no different for an organisation. At Calico Homes, I want us to embrace a more effective approach to complaints handling, one that will help us to implement positive change.

With this in mind, we are fully supportive of the changes that the Housing Ombudsman has recently introduced to improve landlord’s handling of complaints, such as:

  • A complaints handling code that all landlords, including Calico Homes, has to adhere to
  • A resident panel who will help the Ombudsman to develop their future plans
  • Publishing landlord performance reports and findings of fault
  • Complaint handling failure orders from January for landlords who fail to comply with the code.

In July 2020, we launched our new complaints system: Feedback is Gold. This allows us to look at customer dissatisfaction and complaints in more detail, and then use that feedback to improve how we deliver our services.  We can now determine common causes of complaints more easily and act accordingly.

Recent feedback has highlighted that we need to improve how we communicate with our customers; for example, making sure people know what to expect in a timely manner, including clear timescales on the completion of all repair works.

We have also updated our customer website to include clear information for our customers about how they can complain, what service they can expect when they do, and how they can escalate a matter to the Housing Ombudsman if they are not happy with our response.

Alongside this, we will be providing regular, transparent updates via our website on our complaints handling performance, complaint trends and what changes we have made in response to the complaints we’ve received.

We are fully supportive backing the UK Government’s new ‘Make Things Right’ housing campaign, which aims to increase resident awareness of complaint processes. We welcome the support and involvement of our customers to help us continue to improve how we manage and learn from complaints.

We want to build trust. We want to respond, listen, communicate and learn. We agree with the Housing Ombudsman and the Government that effective handling should be a top priority for landlords.

This has encouraged us to pause and reflect, to reassess our existing processes and policies. It feels like a great opportunity for us to create new, more efficient ways to support our customers in the best way we can, while still remaining accountable and honest.

If you’re a Calico Homes customer and would like to offer your input, helping us to shape these outcomes, please contact Emma Dickinson by emailing edickinson@calico.org.uk.

– Mark Beach, Managing Director at Calico Homes.