CSN Sector Insights

With so many variables and connecting factors that go into a Customer Feedback process, wouldn’t you feel more confident knowing there is a partner which can help you get this right.

A partner that can help optimise each and every variable, to support the delivery of hugely valuable Customer opinion feedback process, swifter and in a much more cost-effective way?

That partner is CSN.

Delivering consistently strong customer complaint handling is what most Housing Associations struggle with and many don’t have the basics in place either…

As we all know, Customers have the right to complain and the majority do so in the hope that the issue will be resolved… therefore it is then logical to apply the mind-set that the Customer Complaints process represents an opportunity and is not a damage limitation exercise.

Ironically, however, multiple research shows that, ultimately, it is usually the actual complaint handling process that leads to customer dissatisfaction rather than the original problem itself.

This is one of the most common questions we get asked within this sector.

Sometimes the most effective way to improve within a Housing Association, is not the purchasing of lots of brand new products and services to be able to deliver better and faster –it’s gaining insight and knowledge into what the rest of the sector is doing comparably well and how they are doing it.

No other Customer Service Excellence organisation has specialised within the Housing Association sector over the last 20 years – CSN has.

No other Customer Service Excellence organisation has developed the breadth of insight and intellectual property to be able to confidently bench-mark where YOUR Customer Excellence strategy and delivery, sits compared to the best.

With most companies split into functional silos or departments, it is natural that when left un-tethered, the tenant notices tangible differences in the service received from each.

Naturally, a tenant wants to experience an organisation that provides a single seamless journey across all touch-points from initial enquiry right through to any required tenancy support.

At best, fluctuating tenant experiences across your organisation will be frustrating but much more likely, seen as reasons to complain/go elsewhere.

An approach to firstly understand and then overcome these barriers is to consider the total tenant journey. And the tool required to sit central to any tenant excellence strategy, must therefore be the organisations Tenant Journey Map – it’s THAT crucial.

From small Housing Associations, through to some of the largest such as Bromford Group and Flourish Homes, increasingly within UK Housing Associations, CSN are becoming the partner of choice for the delivery of high quality customer surveys and feedback. No other supplier can deliver the level and depth of service that CSN can:

  • Fully UK based research and analysis teams
  • UK and multi-lingual (currently 15 languages) team members, helping to cover non-English speaking residents
  • NPS™ (Net Promoter Score) research undertaken

Having been lucky enough to work with some of the largest and most CX focussed organisations in the UK, the team at CSN long ago figured out the fact that those which were most consistently successful, were those which had most tangibly developed a company wide mind-set around the importance of excellent customer service, compared to those which merely tactically tweak different parts of their CX delivery.
Surely it is logical that focussed, spirited and engaged employees, will create an environment based on pride and determination to deliver excellence –but developing this mind-set, is of course much more than simply training staff and expecting them to deliver from there.

Excellence in Complaint Management is more than just a well-trained and knowledgeable front-line team. Time and investment is also required in the following areas;

  • Leadership & Culture
  • Process
  • Technology and Systems
  • Performance management
  • Systematic Reviews
  • Continuous Improvement

CSN have put together a very popular, audio and video Webinar…

Recent years have seen evolving and often rising customer expectations when it comes to the delivery of customer service excellence in UK Housing Associations.

Add in the complexity and cost constraints of managing multiple on and offline communication channels and the challenge at times may even seem over-whelming.

With this in mind and over 20+ years of experience, successfully supporting Housing Associations in the UK with their pursuit of customer excellence, the team at CSN has decided to highlight four of the hottest software/techniques, which are being utilised to help organisations take back control of both customer insight and cost, when pursuing the delivery of customer excellence:

With CSN supporting UK Housing Associations for over 20 years in the pursuit of customer service excellence, one of the biggest challenges our customers face is how to manage (and thus reduce) the ever increasing volume of enquiries they receive whether though the call centre or across online media.

In fact in a recent Housing Association survey conducted by Omfax, it was discovered that an average of 11 calls were received per managed unit, every year, across all participating Housing Associations, whilst only 15% claimed to be monitoring avoidable contact and 23% achieving first call resolution.

A perfect storm is created if enquiries don’t get solved much more quickly than this. Customers start to get frustrated with the time and effort on their own part to reach a conclusion to their issue….often moving a simple enquiry into a complaint status, through sheer frustration.

In a sector where customers can’t always choose their provider and success is not always measured in profits, housing providers have struggled to work out what good customer service is.

But getting customer experience right is more important than ever now that many social landlords are increasingly entering competitive new areas of business (such as selling homes on the open market) where competitors already have established customer service teams.

For our existing customers it’s simple: happy customers need to contact you less and that saves money, that can be spent building new homes and developing services that ensure you keep pace with the modern world.

The ‘housing crisis’ within the UK is well documented, together with the range of solutions that various parties suggest will solve it. One of the solutions creating the most dynamic and tangible changes to the supply of new homes being built, has been recent HCA funding.

The Homes and Communities Agency’s (HCA) Home Building Fund gives businesses such as smaller builders and regeneration specialists, the opportunity to apply for funding. This has naturally included a large number of Housing Associations who are looking to expand into the commercial and private sector.

In fact there is no choice on that matter. With HCA funding comes the pre-requisite to deliver services as a private company…and so the evolvement (or ‘spin-offs’ in some cases) of a large number of Housing Associations within the UK is well underway.


John Hughes, Founder and Managing Director, CSN

John has spent more than thirty years helping organisations improve their customer service, using low cost, practical and high effective solutions that are focussed on what the customer wants, their feedback, the organisational context and above all, the people who make it happen. He is President of The International Customer Service Institute in the UK, the lead assessor for The International Standard and a judge on the UK Customer Experience Awards.

Who we’ve worked with…


Selwood had, for a number of years been collecting customer feedback information on it’s repairs service via our repairs operatives PDA’s and in early 2016 we concluded we needed to change our approach and we met a number of organisations to discuss how we might take this forward, and of all the companies we met, we were most impressed with what CSN had to offer – their knowledge and experience of telephone surveys, their positive upbeat attitude seemed to be most in tune with our own and the way the made the whole process  simple and easy was as reassuring as it was impressive.

Chris George, Group Asset Director, Selwood Housing

White Paper

Most Housing Associations gather customer feedback in some way but are they doing enough with the data they receive? Any survey must ask the right questions and gather insights that can be actioned and that drive improvement. This downloadable white paper highlights best practice and the pitfalls to avoid with when obtaining customer feedback.

Click here to download the Making the most of Customer feedback White Paper.


Find out more

Customer Service Nework work closely with a range of businesses across the Housing and Housing Association Sectors.

Call us on 01902 311641 or click here to get in touch to find out more.

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