An innovative customer service programme founded on educative, environmental and energy saving principles to address condensation issues in social housing has been jointly developed by Airtech Environmental Systems and Coastline Housing.
Coastline Housing Ltd is the largest social property landlord in the Kerrier District of Cornwall. It owns 3500 properties of mixed tenures including sheltered housing and general needs homes.
Commenting on the programme Mark England, Head of Technical Services at Coastline Housing said: “Airtech has worked closely with us and developed its services to suit both our business needs and those of our customers,” Currently the programme includes responsive inspections, recommendations, installation of fan equipment, supply of fan equipment for planned maintenance and improvement work.
Mark England believes education is a very important yet often excluded aspect of service provision which he is keen to develop and deliver in partnership with his suppliers. Dedicated to minimizing its carbon footprint while optimising energy efficiency and cost effectiveness, Coastline fit Airtech Energysaver cowls as part of the specification for planned maintenance. This patented product has the capability to make any extractor fan up to 20% more energy efficient.
Prior to introducing the new programme, Airtech provided an ad hoc responsive repairs service that Coastline used when customers called in with condensation and mould growth issues. On request Airtech would inspect properties, provide reports and recommendations. Its experienced surveyors take a holistic approach and examine both the physical evidence and lifestyle of the tenant to ensure lasting solutions are found. In some cases the reports identified that problems resulted from the occupancy and living arrangements of the residents. Coastline identified that it was essential for it to give good advice and make its customers aware of the root causes and damaging impact of condensation.
“Feedback from our customers indicated that a single point of contact for queries on condensation and mould growth issues would be helpful,” says Mark England. “We agreed and felt it was important both for them and our staff to have direct access to knowledge on the subject. Our customers now welcome condensation experts into their homes to provide information and advice. Airtech delivers this service and will fault diagnose problems on all makes of equipment. Additionally its ‘Freephone’ telephone number is available to everyone within our organisation and it will contact customers direct to discuss any concerns they may have. Essentially our Customer Services Department now has access to expert advice via a direct link to Airtech and uses this knowledge to assist customers.” A new easy to navigate website – www.airtechenvironmental.co.uk – also offers information and support
Tenant aftercare has always been a mainstay of Airtech’s service. The company care what customers think before, during and after installation. Upon completion of an installation customers have always received a customer care leaflet that lists a ‘Freephone’ number so they can discuss any problems relating to an installation and the operation and control of ventilation equipment installed. This is supported by free follow-up visits to resolve any ventilation issues that cannot be settled over the telephone.
Planned maintenance is also a focus area. The company works in partnership with housing associations and local authorities to manage and control ventilation problems. Its service includes surveying, attending site meetings, evaluation and specification as well as CPD training seminars for technical officers and in-house surveyors.
Customer focused ideas
Both companies worked openly to develop an extended warranty on products installed, adding significant value to the service. Innovative customer focused ideas such as ‘Mould Eradication Kits’ that provide information and products that enable customers to deal with condensation prevention themselves helped engage tenants. Airtech has also written informative articles for Coastline’s customer magazine explaining the main causes of condensation and how to avoid the problems of mould growth.
Airtech’s focus on the environment and energy efficiency when designing new products is a particular benefit and dovetails with Coastline’s desire to ensure protection of ecosystems is built into the way it works, the specifications it designs and the services it provides to customers.
Commitment to continuous improvement of services is another important aspect of the relationship. Coastline is currently working with Airtech to further develop existing services to include cyclical and planned preventative maintenance to its stock. Specifically the two companies are examining how sustainable technologies can provide solutions to heating and ventilation issues while ensuring that systems remain cost effective.