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In the last couple of months, we have been inviting our members and wider network to share examples of great and inspiring customer service against the odds. Below are some inspiring stories submitted to us showcasing these examples of really going above and beyond or of service being delivered differently.

Should you wish to submit your story, please fill in this form here.

LV= : The Green Heart Difference

At LV=, we’ve always taken great pride in the fact that we try to do the right thing which is why we wanted to play our part in helping support our local communities during the COVID-19 crisis.

To achieve this, our people signed up to the Letters of Kindness scheme. When we spoke with a number of local care homes, it was heart-breaking to hear their stories of how lonely their residents were becoming because they couldn’t interact with friends and family. This initiative encourages our employees to write to a nearby care home, with a letter or pictures that can be shared with those living there. The care home staff then send responses back to us.

We also know that there are many people struggling to provide food for their families, so we’ve encouraged our people to make donations to the Trussell Trust and have a JustGiving page for people interested in lending their support.

The homeless are also particularly vulnerable at the moment and Big Issue sellers can no longer make a living as people aren’t on the streets, so we’re supporting a campaign to encourage people to buy the magazine digitally and keep that all important revenue coming in.

Some of our people are also joining the national call for NHS volunteers and contacting their local Community Action Network to see how they may be able to chip in.

I’m very proud of our people and hope our efforts go some way in helping our local communities.

– Rodney Assock, LV=

Silva Homes: ‘phone pals’ cheer lonely customers

Silva Homes is tackling loneliness by making hundreds of phone calls to isolated customers. With more than 2,000 customers aged 65 and over, many of whom are self-isolating, colleagues from the Bracknell-based housing association are doing everything they can to help keep loneliness at bay.

Each week, over twenty Silva colleagues make a total of 200 calls to customers who have requested this service because they are living in isolation. Over 1000 people have already signed up to receive calls.

They chat about anything and everything and it gives Silva’s customers a chance to have an informal and friendly conversation with someone who they wouldn’t usually interact with.

Silva has already received a lot of positive feedback from customers who are grateful for this new scheme.

One elderly woman, who lives on her own in one of Silva’s independent living homes commented on this programme: “I’d just like tell you how much I appreciate the great phone calls I’ve been having from the Silva phone pals. They really do make my day, especially as they’re from such a diverse crowd.”

Dasos Christou, Silva’s executive director (customer relations) commented: “As a housing association, we are in a position to help improve the lives of over 14,000 people. As soon as it became clear that coronavirus would impact our customers, we acted to ensure that as many services as possible were available for those who were isolating. We wanted to make sure that everyone could access our support, not just those people with a phone or the internet, so we’ve introduced a range of schemes to ensure all our customers get the help they need.”

– Amy Sullivan, Silva Homes

Motability Operations: Looking after our customers by looking after our people

Up until February this year we were an office-based organisation, trialling homeworking. March changed that. Practically overnight we moved our whole company, including our customer services department to home working. We didn’t have enough lap tops for everyone to begin with so had to call in coaches, trainers and back office staff to support the front line, ordering more while we did. From the beginning we recognised that looking after our employees would be the best thing we could do to protect our customers. While managers made sure they set up wellbeing based calls with all employees, the company arranged a series of webinars to help people with the transition to homeworking, focusing on mental and physical health, nutrition, sleep, even virtual yoga classes during what has been undoubtedly a stressful time for all.

We changed our opening hours, took a flexible approach to peoples working pattern to adjust to child care challenges and home schooling. We adapted and created new process to ensure we responded swiftly to the changes the country was facing, often literally overnight. We’ve run training sessions around resilience, provided equipment for home offices and made sure that communication and consultation was at the heart of our employee approach, as using SMS, emails, digital and written communications to do the same with our customers. As a result we’ve had hugely positive feedback from our employees (our staff survey was underway during lock down!) and continue to get great feedback from our customers too.

– Ivan Smith, Motability Operations


Radian Group: Buddy Club launched to help vulnerable and isolated customers

Radian Group, alongside its partner Yarlington Housing Group, has established a new ‘Buddy Club’ to combat social isolation experienced by customers, to provide a sense of togetherness in times of separation. Every day ‘Buddies’ make phone calls to customers who have been highlighted as vulnerable and so far, over 2673 calls have been made and over 1145 customers have signed up for a weekly Buddy Club call. Sarah Sargent, Director of Customer Experience at Radian Group said:

“As a housing provider we are aware of the impact of social isolation but now the need for support is even greater. We will continue to reach out to our customers and support them to the best of our ability”

Examples of some of the Buddy Club outcomes:

– An elderly lady lost her sister who had been living in care home. She was unable to retrieve her sisters’ belongings, so her Buddy arranged for one of our work operatives to collect the items (in full PPE). The lady was very appreciative and asked to pass on her thanks to all concerned.
– A gentleman had run out of medication a week earlier, his Buddy spoke to the customer’s GP surgery to make sure he got a top up of the medication he needed.
– An elderly lady had fallen over and was reluctant to contact her GP. She also had no food. Her Buddy arranged food parcels and contacted her son who was very grateful for the call.

– Sarah Symcox, Radian Group


Should you wish to submit your story, please fill in this form here.

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