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With Scottish Housing Day taking place this week, and this year’s theme focusing on housing as a career, we’re looking behind the scenes to see what our housing staff members do, and how their roles are vital in operating and continually developing the service we offer our tenants.
In this a day in the life feature, we’re following Repairs Customer Service Advisor, Debbie Gibb.
Tell us a little bit about you and your role.
My name is Debbie and I have been a customer service advisor for the last two years.
As a customer service advisor, I would say no two days are the same- it really depends on the calls, emails or appointments that come through. The most important part of being a customer service advisor is giving the tenant the best customer experience. We are the first point of contact and will try to resolve the tenant’s enquiry as soon possible.
How did you get into a career in housing?
I worked in a school previously, and no longer needed the prolonged but set school holidays and wanted a change of career. I saw the Customer Service Advisor role advertised at Hillcrest, which sounded very interesting and I felt it was the correct career path for me. I also had a friend who worked for Hillcrest, who highly recommended the role in customer service.
What would you say to others who are considering a career in the housing sector?
Ours is a rewarding role as we can support tenants, many of whom are potentially vulnerable, and give them the support or knowledge that they require. I have worked with numerous teams across the company, which gives an understanding of the challenges faced by staff across different roles, but we are great at supporting each other to deliver the best possible service for our tenants. At Hillcrest we recognise and reward colleagues who make an exceptional contribution to our organisation. We also have an excellent health plan that you can enrol in.
8:30 am: In the morning, I like to make sure I get into work nice and early, giving me plenty of time to log on and load up all of the systems that are needed for the day, and to prepare myself. I check my own work emails along with our customer service emails, and the MyHillcrest app contacts that have come in overnight.
I also like to check if any of the other teams in Hillcrest have sent out letters or mailers to tenants that might generate calls throughout the day. We have to make sure if someone phones us about a letter or other message they’ve received, that we know about it as it helps us answer any enquiries about these more effectively.
Monday mornings can be extremely busy with calls, emails and app contacts regarding issues that has happened over the weekend.
1 pm: It has been a busy morning and I’ve answered 30 calls by 1 pm. I’ve had some enquiries about our new developments, such as people asking when the homes will be ready and how they can apply for them. There are so many developments on the go just now, so we have to make sure we have the development information at hand to give people realistic timescales.
Monday is always busy with any incidents that have happened at the weekend, and today is no different. I also answered calls about neighbours having parties and leaving discarded bottles and rubbish in the common areas. We have to listen carefully to these calls and note all of the details, offering advice – or where it is more serious, we let the housing officers know so they can investigate and undertake any further actions.
I had calls about pets including dog mess, and also a contact about someone concerned for the welfare of their neighbour’s cat. Often these are things that Hillcrest can’t take action on so we refer them to other agencies such as the dog wardens and the SSPCA.
5 pm: The Customer Service team handles enquiries for both Hillcrest Homes and Hillcrest Enterprises, and this afternoon I took details from a tenant wishing to end their tenancy with the latter. As Homes and Enterprises properties have different tenancy agreements, I had to make sure I gave the correct advice based on the tenancy agreement that they have.
By the end of the day, I had answered 60 calls and logged and responded to almost 30 emails. Email enquiries ranged from rent queries, tenants accepting offers on properties, enquiries about moving a partner into the home, and enquiries from council tax and benefit departments. It has certainly been a busy day!