Starting a Customer Voice Report
Friday 1st of September 2023
Tpas has been an essential touchpoint so often when I’ve been creating our new customer voice report.
Last year, I was asked to research customer voice reports. A colleague had produced one back in 2017. It contained so much useful information, but you’d need a page the size of a banquet table to read it all.
I started brainstorming: ‘customer voice’ - the voice of the customer. How do customers ‘talk’ to us?: surveys, phone calls and emails to our Customer Services team, visits to customers in their homes, complaints and compliments, customer engagement groups, neighbourhood walkabouts, social media, community events. I could keep going forever…
I needed to define what a customer voice report is, what the term ‘customer voice’ means to Greatwell Homes. Its wonderful that we have so many ways of hearing from our customers. This lets us address what individuals are talking about, but can we capture both the formal and the informal messages? Who is a customer voice report for? Who wants to see it? Who ‘needs’ to see it in order for Greatwell Homes to actively listen and respond? And what do we do already? How is a customer voice report different to an annual report, or our customer newsletter, or our social media pages?
At this point (Spring 2023) I had more questions than answers, so I took to the National Engagement Professionals Network on Tpas Connect. I asked if anyone else had created a customer voice report, and would be willing to help me think things through. As it turns out a fair few of us have it on our ‘to-do’ list, so I set up a video call with around six others. We talked about what software to use for infographics, which teams we get our data from, different reports for different audiences, how to disseminate the report. It was a really helpful session.
Canva was recommended as a software tool to present the report, and Tpas was offering a free online training session soon – perfect timing!
Amy (Tpas’ Comms Co-ordinator) delivered the session and was so helpful with the basics of setting myself up on Canva. She showed us that there are so many more advanced features, but I didn’t dare look at until I was more familiar with the software.
I learned to take my time to get to grips with using Canva – use it for a bit, then come away for a while, and then go back to it. It was like a wonderland of colours, fonts, boards, graphics, icons, templates – I could easily get lost here. My advice to anyone starting with Canva is to not start with a project on a tight deadline. Learning to use it is a process that takes time.
I had produced a customer voice report that I was pleased with. It looked professional, and was happy with the information that was be featured in the first edition. I sent it to a small group of customers and staff for some initial feedback, and made some amendments. Knowing what to think about in terms of people with ADHD, dyslexia or poor eye sight were great insights.
Come the start of the summer, one of my peers from another housing provider got in touch and asked if we could do another video call session about customer voice reports. I set up another session, inviting everyone that was interested last time, and also inviting anyone else via the National Engagement Professionals Network on Tpas Connect. I now have a list of over 30 people that are engaging with me on this topic.
Several of us had Tpas accreditations or smart reviews that recommended improving diversity in feedback and closing the feedback loop on customer engagement. We want our organisations to value less formal feedback because there is diversity and quantity in that. But how do we record anecdotal feedback?
I raised this question at the Tpas customer conference in July. To listen to all of our customers, we need to give all forms of feedback from customers equal weight. We know that some customers do not engage with their landlords for a variety of reasons that we would like to understand better.
I am now working on the second edition of our customer voice report. I am learning from mistakes and the feedback from the first edition, and from all the insights from other Housing professionals.
In the spirit of continual improvement, I reached out to Lisa Holt at Tpas, following a scrutiny staff meet-up recently where she was singing the praises of Canva again. I was struggling with setting up the brand hub on Canva, so Lisa kindly set up a meeting for us and Amy, and we all helped each other see different features from a new perspective.
The second Teams call with my peers highlighted some areas for further discussion next time:
- How to encourage underrepresented people to talk to their landlord, understanding barriers
- Different involvement formats to appeal to underrepresented people
- Incentives and recruitment techniques
- Engagement platforms
The customer voice project has only just begun.
Gemma Ager, Community Involvement Officer at Greatwell Homes