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Mij Rahman Director of Capital Investment

“You need to replace your bad and duplicate data with clean and actionable data before assigning it to the right people,' says Mij. 

“The situation we faced was that many of the actions in our combined legacy CRMs were either duplicate, uncategorised, or had no ‘due by’ date. This meant that while we had a tremendous amount of volume in there, we had no way of prioritising a large proportion of these tasks or getting them to the right areas and people.”

Over a period of three months, the project group worked their way through several thousand backlog items ranging from repeat contacts to enquiries about land, rent and repairs. The team cross-matched dates, enquiry types, and customer records before closing any clear duplicates and creating one ‘master’ enquiry per customer account. This ‘master’ was then able to be prioritised and responded to. In 90 days – 1335 duplicate actions were closed which made up around 12% of the overall backlog.

Due dates which were either missing or overdue were also updated and aligned with Southern Housing's new service level agreements, resulting is outliers now being recognised and managed accordingly.

“Without due dates you have no prioritisation, without prioritisation you only focus on what is coming in. With almost 85,000 day-to-day enquiries completed while we ran this project over three months; you can see how easy it can be for your enquiries to slip if you are not properly organised and your data is poor,” Mij added.

Safeguarding the future

With the backlog tackled the next challenge was to ensure the CRM is fit for the future which is achieved by a combination of training, culture, process, and presentation.

The importance of culture and training cannot be under-estimated. The quality requirement that ensures our people are capturing the right information needs nurturing and support throughout. Therefore, a training programme on what is good record keeping and a good timeline will now become a fundamental part of our future data management programme. Supported by real cases studies and demonstrable examples of how the quality of data captured in an initial enquiry affects the whole cycle of how it is handled, this will lead to much greater efficiency and service on our part.

Process focused on re-designing our queue system (our way of tagging and assigning a task within CRM to the right owners) to ensure tasks were more effectively designated and were matched to the new organisational structure and job roles. Where ‘Compliance’ may have been the only tag previously on an enquiry ‘Compliance – Lifts,’ will now take it directly to the right team and person to manage it thereby speeding up response times and effectiveness.

Presentation centred around the introduction of a dashboard system that allows individuals and teams an at-a-glance view of their tasks and priorities including those overdue, directly from the CRM. The dashboard allows managers to see not only a queue of tasks against individuals each day, but also the issues that are being raised most prominently by residents. In both cases, additional resources can be reassigned to tackle them more quickly and information fed back into the organisation to help with future service design.

“We’ve made a good start both practically and culturally by clearing 42% of our backlog and implementing clear processes for managing this in the future,” says Mij.

“But this is just the beginning and ensuring you have an effective CRM is a process of continuous self-improvement. As we progress through integration and get better harmonisation between our ways of working – aided by increased automation – we believe that we can deliver better outcomes for residents. Continued and regular training on what good data and information looks like will support a ‘right first time’ approach for our residents and forms as critical a part of any good CRM system as the technology itself. If we deliver that then we are much further down the road in achieving the service goals Southern Housing has set itself.” 

CRM project in numbers

  • 42% of backlog decreased in three months
  • 6,650 overdue actions closed
  • 84,611 day-to-day activities and actions completed by Southern Housing in 3 months as part of BAU
  • 2093 backlog items with due date before April 2023 updated and completed
  • 1194 actions and activities without due dates now have a due date following new SLAs
  • 1135 duplicates closed – making up 12% of backlog overall
  • 122 queues created to match new organisation set-up
  • Dashboard active from 15th December 2023.

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