This was a popular method of reality checking which involved auditors ringing in, perhaps posing as a customer, to find out how well and quickly phones were answered and how appropriately their queries were responded to Sandwell MBC also listened to incoming calls on the repair line at their contact centre to check how the calls were handled, as well as to find out about the variety of enquiries that the contact centres handle. Housing organisations often have standards for telephone response and sometimes have standard procedural guidelines for staff to follow when responding to queries. Where there are no set standards, tenant auditors need to establish the standards they are looking for.
Make sure to include everything you are looking for. Arrange this as a form which can be completed easily during the call or soon afterwards. Allow plenty of space to note any extra information. The auditors need to have some basic training in customer care and using the telephone. They need to Expert Property Valuers know how to make and break calls and understand the procedures to follow, including ringing back and sticking to the relevant issues The auditors need to have some basic training in customer care and using the telephone. They need to know how to make and break calls and understand the procedures to follow, including ringing back and sticking to the relevant issues This technique involves going in person to the organisation with requests for information and / or services, then making judgements about the quality and appropriateness of the service(s) received.
Staff support to provide information about standards and procedures, to liaise with the housing organisation and (optionally) give advice and guidance to the auditors, and assistance with reporting back. This was a process that was used at Sandwell MBC as a follow on from their ISO 9002 Quality Assurance accreditation. Tenants were trained and supported in carrying out the ISO QA system, and in reporting on their findings Interviewing other tenants to see what they think of a particular service is a very useful reality checking tool. Tenants have experienced the service first hand so are in a very good position to tell you about their experiences.
Interviews can be used to find out what people think of the repairs service or how their rehousing query was dealt with. Interviews may be on a one to one basis, or alternatively may be carried out in a large group or focus group.