Mears Group welcome our Customer Panel visitors

Published: 15 May 2015

Two members of the Customer Panel were invited to visit the Mears Group’s head office in Gillingham on Tuesday 12 May.

Mears Group Visit

Mears Contract Manager Darren Barnard (standing by the desk) takes Carron (standing next to him) and Stuart (seated right) to meet the Mears call centre team.

Mears Group Visit

Carron (seated) checks out Gas Engineer Tara’s van.

Stuart Rees, who is Chair of the Customer Panel, and Carron Cleversley from the Panel and the Q-Team, were invited so they could see first hand how Mears – our new repairs contractors – run our repairs service.

Maddy Cox, our Customer Engagement Co-ordinator, and Nichole Waller, one of our Housing Services Officers, also took part in the visit.

The visitors were welcomed by Darren Barnard, who manages our repairs contract. They then met the call centre team who take the repairs calls, organise appointments and book in the job with their repairs team.

Later in the day, they met Tara, who is a gas engineer, and Andy, who is a multi-trade operative – and took a look inside their vans. Stuart and Carron were impressed – especially when they saw that Tara carries extra equipment so that she can help work on our empty properties if she has time between appointments.

A better repairs service

During the visit Darren explained some of the ways Mears are working to improve our repairs service.

To get to our repairs more quickly, they are building a team of multi-trade operatives in our key areas. The contact centre also has a list of their operatives’ specialist skills – so they can send the right person to each job for a first visit fix.

Mears will be giving out its landline number soon, as an alternative to their more expensive 0844 number.

The Customer Panel want to help set the void standard – the minimum repairs carried out to our empty properties before we re-let them. They will soon be visiting empty homes before and after they are worked on, so they can see how this works.

Stuart and Carron said how important it is for our customers to be able to trust their repairs contractors. We will be working with Mears to make sure their staff get the right training. Carron also suggested that our Housing Service Officers could set up a list of individual customers’ needs. Then Mears would know in advance if someone needed longer to answer the phone or the door.

After the visit, Stuart said: “It was good to meet people face to face and to have the opportunity to ask questions. I feel reassured with the way Mears are dealing with repairs. I also like the way they’re actively seeking feedback and looking for ways to improve.

“I was really pleased to remake Andy’s acquaintance. Andy was formerly a Richardson employee and he worked at my bungalow on a number of occasions.”

Carron said: “I loved meeting everyone and seeing the vans. I feel confident Mears will keep improving now they’ve caught up on the outstanding bits and bobs.”

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