At Yarlington, the customer is at the heart of everything we do. We’re committed to delivering great homes, services and opportunities that meet our customers’ needs and to work with them to make improvements.
Andy Skarzynski, Executive Director of People, Information and Culture at Yarlington
29 August 2019
To do all of this, the customer experience must be consistent, our staff need to be accountable and our customers need to have a say.
The Customer Charter aims to strengthen our relationship with our customers by setting out 13 pledges that identify the level of service and experience they can expect from us and ensure we’re held to account if we don’t get things right.
The tragedy of Grenfell Tower and the Social Housing Green Paper both identified vast differences in customer experience, services and relationships across the sector and within housing associations themselves. By adopting a Customer Charter, we’re not only ensuring our services remain high quality, we’re openly committing to delivering the same experience and opportunities to all customers.
But we didn’t just launch a charter. In October 2018 we consulted with our customers, asking them to provide feedback on a draft version of our charter to ensure it was in line with their expectations and priorities, and to make sure it was seen to be fair.
How we considered the Together with Tenants plan
Yarlington began developing a Customer Charter off the back of significant changes in the sector. However, as we began exploring the charter and consulting with our customers, we became an early adopter of the Federation’s Together with Tenants plan, which provides a more open, consistent and accountable approach for housing association tenants and residents.
We were delighted to see that our draft charter aligned with the core principles of the Federation’s charter but decided to go even further. We adapted the pledges to be specific to the services we provide, so that we’re as open and transparent as possible to our customers about what they can expect from us.
The Federation’s charter helped ensure our commitments are aligned with the rest of the sector’s, and we’ll continue to work closely with the Federation to deliver sector-wide consistency of customer experience and provide insight into the development and delivery of our charter.
At Yarlington, making sure we involve all customers in the work we do is just as important to us as building and maintaining homes and the quality of services we provide. That’s why our charter covers all aspects of the customer experience, including the values we work by and our commitment to working with our tenants and residents.
How will we know if we’re delivering on our promises?
We’ve put robust measures in place to actively check we’re delivering on the commitments we set out in the charter. These also enable us to remain open and honest with our customers about our performance. These measurements will be recorded through performance indicators on services such as emergency repairs, complaint handling and value for money. We’ll also be able track our progress through our annual surveys, intelligence dashboards and board reports.
We’re committed to being held accountable to our pledges, by customers, at all times. We provide customers with a variety of channels to provide feedback or make a complaint if we don’t get things right, to scrutinise our existing services and help improve the way we work. We’ll also actively share how we are delivering on our commitments on our websites, in our customer newsletter and as part of our annual reports.
As we deliver on our commitments and embed the Customer Charter, I’m excited to see how our relationship with customers develops. With more transparency and more power for our customers, we’ll be able to build great homes and communities.