Scrutiny meetings on hold? Let's get virtual!
Lockdown and the ongoing restrictions on groups of people meeting haven’t stopped us engaging with our customers, gathering their views on our services and scrutinising how we operate as a landlord.
Although measures have had to be introduced to keep customers and staff safe, it’s been business almost as usual for our customer scrutiny team who have continued to survey customers and to encourage people to feedback about our services.
Our group of involved customers – who volunteer their time, skills and experience to help shape services for all our customers – rose to the challenge of the new ways we are having to work.
Jess Woodley, Customer Scrutiny Team Leader said: “Although we’ve had to suspend face-to-face meetings with our involved customers at our Bath Row offices, they still wanted to work with us to keep our engagement activity going.
“But we not only had to find another way of communicating with customers, we had to get customers to agree with our proposed new way of working. We chose Microsoft Teams as the platform for regular virtual meetings but we hadn’t used it before so had to familiarise ourselves before we could train our involved customers.
“They grasped the new virtual way of working with enthusiasm. Since April, they’ve given us almost 150 hours of their time and 22 of them have attended at least one of the 17 virtual meetings we’ve held and discussed scrutiny work and projects.”
Involved customer Trevor Stanley, Chair of our Customer Oversight Group and Ops Committee member, said: “I log on 10 minutes before the meeting from my own living room. We still have the same conversations yet I believe we get more work done than we did in our much longer face-to-face meetings.”
He listed other benefits as not having two and a half hours travel to and from our Birmingham offices. Also, meetings could be organised easily and quickly, meeting rooms didn’t need to be booked and there were no travel expenses to pay.
“I believe this new way of holding meetings is the future and will encourage more customers to get involved. If we don’t hop on now, we’ll miss the bus.”
David Taylor, Executive Director of Operations, said: “I’m really impressed meetings are being held digitally and am looking forward to seeing how we can work together to use these tools to reach even more customers.”
Customers can help shape our services in many different ways and can “pick and mix” what they get involved in depending on the topics they are interested in and how much time they can offer.