Meet Michael (Involved customer)
I was always told that if you aren’t happy with something, you can either put up with it, or change it. So when I received an invite to become an involved customer, I decided to join the Customer Scrutiny Panel.
Being a panelist involves looking at what Midland Heart (MH) said they did and checking to see if they really did it. Then the exciting bit – we were able to challenge MH about it, and the people right at the top listened to what we were saying!
I remember the first few meetings were hard getting to know the other people on the team, but soon they became friends. We all brought different things to the table. some were statistic-mad! Others were able to make complicated things simple. I brought some humour to the group when we were discussing serious subjects. The key thing was that we were making a difference.
Improving our services
We were given access to senior managers so that we could ask them direct questions. We have tackled some interesting subjects for example, we looked at the repeat repairs process. This gave us access to the Customer Hub and we were able to make some powerful suggestions and requests.
Since then the training process for new Customer Service Officers has changed a lot – it’s great to see that we as customers had a hand in that. As a member of the Scrutiny panel, I learnt to value everyone’s opinions and understand that we are all different and behave differently.
Getting my voice heard
Recently, I have started to sit on complaints panels acting as a Customer Moderator. Reviewing a customer’s complaint or adjudication and seeing if Midland Heart have done the right thing is challenging but exciting work. If I don’t think MH have done enough then I will say that, and again my comments are taken on board. It’s a big responsibility but I enjoy making a difference.
A little more about me
As well as being an involved customer, I teach English online, mainly to adults in Spain. I’m also an award-winning writer, with four novels published and three theatre plays. Next month, my play ‘A Matter of Law’ is on at the Blue Orange Theatre in Birmingham, and it tackles domestic abuse.
My theatre company aims to address hard subjects head-on to raise awareness. I have two other plays in development and novel number five is underway. I also love karaoke and improvised comedy. Life is what you make of it!
I am grateful to Midland Heart for the home that I have it's not perfect and nor is Midland Heart, but as an involved customer I have the privilege of helping to make improvements.