Thursday 20th August 2020
In our new series ‘Meet our Members’, each month we’ll be introducing one of our members asking them to share news about their career, what they love about working in social housing and how they anticipate the sector evolving over the next few years.
First up, we meet Sarah Willcox-Jones who is head of Property Analytics and Operations at Lewisham Homes.
Lewisham Homes is currently in the process of modernising its repairs service to make it easier for both staff and customers, under the banner ‘Fit for the Future’. Introducing the latest scheduling and stock-control technologies, the aim of this modernisation is for the team to be able to consistently deliver an excellent and reliable experience for residents.
Sarah’s took over the management of the repairs contact centre and complaints team on May 1st and whilst the country was mid-lockdown, this hasn’t stopped Sarah and her team cracking on with the transition.
Sarah says that one of the biggest challenges was moving to working remotely having only attended one team meeting face-to-face. “Although I spent some days with the contact centre to understand how they worked and what the challenges were, it has been more difficult trying to get to know people without face-to-face contact.”
“The team have adapted to homeworking very quickly which is a credit to their preparation and dedication to providing a good service to our customers. Everyone in the team has been very welcoming to me which has made settling into the new role much easier.”
“As not everyone loves to video chat, and as it can be quite draining being online all day long, I’ve been looking at new ways to engage with the team so that we build on our supportive culture whilst valuing how people like to work and what other challenges they might have in an at-home environment.”
Having worked in property services roles for more than 12 years, Sarah notes how much she enjoys customer interaction and how much she values the opportunity to discuss issues with residents, so that she can understand how residents feel about the service.
Sarah has also formed a residents’ complaints panel which allows Lewisham Homes to gain valuable feedback about how residents view services, and how their complaints are responded to. Sarah hopes to bring this feedback back to her team, so it can support how the team works moving forwards.
For the Property Analytics team, Sarah’s focus is on how they can drive down failure demand in the team whether that’s through avoidable contact or formal complaints. Sarah notes that it’s “costly to us as a business and impacts our ability to perform to the level we want to for our residents.”
If you’re a WISH South East member and would like to be featured in our ‘Meet our Members’ series, please get in touch by contacting WISH SE Board Member Victoria Archer by emailing [email protected].