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TECHNOLOGY ALONE IS NOT THE ANSWER–BUT WITHOUT IT NO RESOURCE CAN PERFORM EFFECTIVELY

After Build has invested a great deal in technology over more recent years – but for the record, nowhere near as much as we invest in our people. Technology without the right, properly trained resource is a complete nonstarter.


This point firmly established, let’s see what technology needs to be able to do to help set and lead customer service standards.


Firstly, we recognise that overwhelmingly we are a connected, mobile population. Smart phones are ubiquitous and increasingly we organise our lives through them. So, it became clear that we must offer occupants the ability to report defects using their mobile (whilst additionally recognising that there will always be some people who cannot/will not accept this, in which case the telephone works fine).

For ease of access and to invite occupants into a resourceful environment, we have created a brand ‘Managing Your New Home’ – the website is full of useful relevant information. The App (of the same name) gives occupants the ability to call up information and/or access the Occupant Portal to report a problem. The same portal also allows them to track an existing problem.


The App is available on i-OS and Android platforms (Apple store and Google Play). The portal is secure; user ID is by email address, and occupants set their own password. Access is 24/7 and reporting a problem is by a combination of free text and attached pictures and/or video files.


As soon as they press ‘submit’ our system receives the information and a ‘work record’ is created. This also flags up as a new problem with the team of Property Coordinators. This is the point at which a real-live person intervenes and our reliance on technology briefly falls away.


People describe symptoms and rarely the cause (and why should they – that’s our job). So, it is imperative that a warranty standard trained person has a dialogue with the occupant and using a series of proven Q&A techniques, can establish with certainty, the cause, location, and severity of the issue. This means several things to us.


1. We can triage the issue – is it an emergency, urgent or just routine;

2. Which contractor needs to attend;

3. The SLAs relevant to each of the three levels in point 1.) allow the system to calculate the timeframe within which we need a response from the contractor and by when they must have carried out the work.


This approach to recording a problem has massively speeded up our management of issues and it also means that the occupant can report it whenever they wish. Want to know more about our After Care programme? Speak to Mark Fawcitt (Director of Customer Development) on 07342 037810 (markf@afterbuild.com).

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