Mpathy Plus has completed its survey and report on trends in housing contact centres for 2011. The ‘Social Housing Contact Centre Survey’ identified two key trends in housing providers’ contact centre performance, both of which point to an improvement in service quality.
The first is that the average duration of calls has increased from 253 seconds in 2010 to 275 seconds in 2011, with the report suggesting that this increase is due to greater care being taken over how initial calls are handled, with a view increasing the number of enquires resolved at the first point of contact.
The second trend is a reduction in the number of calls per property per year; in general, if callers are satisfied with the service they are receiving, they will call less often.
The survey also measured the speed with which calls are answered; although 51 per cent of calls were answered within 10 seconds, the proportion of calls answered within 60 seconds has fallen from 92 per cent in 2009 to 79 per cent in 2011.
Call recording is becoming more commonplace, with three-quarters of housing providers using call recording to give feedback to staff, with each customer advisor typically receiving feedback on around seven calls per month.
Calls about repairs still make up the biggest category of calls, and in parallel the average number of calls per repair increased from 1.7 to 2. One reason for this increase is the widespread use (by 50 per cent of housing providers) of text messaging to confirm and send reminders about repair appointments; as a result, the text messages will tend to result in more calls as tenants react to the text messages and call to rearrange appointments.
The Mpathy Plus survey covered social media for the first time in the 2011 report and found that social media channels are now used by almost half of the survey participants, with the unsurprising result that Twitter and Facebook are the most popular.
Finally, there has been an increase in the number of housing providers outsourcing their out-of-hours service, representing five cent of incoming call volumes.