If you read our previous article on the Occupant Portal, you’ll recall that we make clear, no matter how smart technology is, it needs trained resource to work – on its own it fails – not because there’s a weakness in the software, but because we all expect more than is realistic from people. Human behaviour is the weakness.
Do not believe that a software system alone will manage your contractors for you. It won’t. They won’t behave in the way you would wish them to – they are busy people and your request via technology that they attend a property (for free) and make good a problem that has arisen with their workmanship from 9 months ago, won’t elicit a prompt and positive response, just like that! They know that if you really need them, that you will chase them up, otherwise that request will slide to the bottom of the priority page. Have this in mind – you will always need trained people who can speak with occupants and contractors – each in terms that they can relate to (they are both very different types of individuals).
However, technology is an enabler – it will enable our Property Coordinators to obtain commitment from a contractor. So, when an occupant uses the Occupant Portal to report a problem to After Build, the result is an email is automatically triggered to the correct original contractor, with an embedded link to their detailed job instruction. Click the link and it takes them to the Contractor Portal. Here they can see the details of the job instruction – and any other defects they are responsible for, by developer, by site, by plot. Each will have its own SLA in terms of how quickly the problem must be rectified and it enables the contractor to schedule their resource to get the most in terms of efficiency from what they must do.
If a contractor simply refuses to return (they may be out of warranty or even out of business) there are some useful options for the developer.
1. We can agree an upper financial limit (per job) and without further reference, we will appoint an alternative to do the work (we have relations with almost 2,000 across the UK);
2. The developer may wish to appoint the alternative;
3. The job can be automatically posted on ‘Bid for Work’ – this is a public domain aspect of the portal that advertises jobs requiring a contractor (https://portal.contractorinfo.uk.com/bid-for-work ) this is a great way for trades who are looking for work to find it.
There are a couple of really important rules which we apply at all times:
1. We never incur cost for a developer without first obtaining written consent to do so.
2. We never allow a contractor to have a direct dialogue with the occupant – this can have disastrous consequences when things go wrong.
Want to know more about our After Care programme? Speak to Mark Fawcitt (Director of Customer Development) on 07342 037810 (firstname.lastname@example.org).