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East Kent Housing Case Study
Swale Heating’s commitment to customers has seen it begin work on an emergency contract for a social housing provider only five days after being appointed – a timescale almost unheard of in the industry.
Swale Heating was brought in by East Kent Housing at the end of June 2019 to provide a short-term installation, maintenance and breakdown service for 16,000 properties.
The heating company’s excellent organisation made all properties gas safety compliant within three and a half weeks. Engineers worked on a high number of emergency callouts while carrying out an unusually extensive programme of installation and maintenance.
Meanwhile, residents’ satisfaction ratings rose to an ‘outstanding’ level.
By the time work started on July 3 – less than a week after appointment – Swale Heating managers had organised a specific East Kent Housing hub to co-ordinate operations and devised a pro-active programme of work. They had transferred 21 members of staff under TUPE regulations and dedicated 13 engineers to the area to cope with the workload.
The swift change of contractors meant that one of the first concerns was to give reassurance. Additional Resident Liaison Officers (RLOs) were recruited to go from door to door to notify residents about the new contractor arrangements, to answer questions and to log issues. This personal contact was complemented by letters, cards in doors and information on East Kent Housing’s website.
When Swale Heating took on the contract, gas safety compliancy was 96.05%, with 564 certificates overdue and more expiring every day. Swale Heating cleared the backlog and introduced a programme that achieved 100% compliancy in a matter of weeks.
In the same period, Swale Heating also attended to 2,170 breakdown visits, completed more than 4,700 services and installed 450 boilers.
Among the more sensitive properties were 26 sheltered accommodations for the elderly. Heating and hot water services were maintained for them throughout.
The professionalism of Swale Heating engineers brought a noticeable improvement in customer satisfaction. When the contract began, average customer satisfaction among some residents was 83.4%. Swale Heating brought it up to an average of 96.19% in a survey that saw a response rate of almost 24% – a higher than average return that demonstrates how much residents wanted to have their views heard.
Chief Executive Officer of Swale Heating, Matthew Edwards, said: ‘I’m proud of the way Swale Heating staff at all levels approached a particularly challenging mobilisation. Thanks to our organisation and dedication to customer service, Swale Heating surpassed expectations in every area of the emergency contract with East Kent Housing.
‘I’m happy to know that we leave the contract having done everything we could to ensure that East Kent Housing residents are warm and safe this winter.’