At Bromford our Neighbourhood Coaches are the foundations of our relationship with the customer.

This week Bromford Lab teamed up with Localities to roll out a small test with a local company called R.O.V.E.R (Roaming Office Vehicle for Engagement Research).

So what is R.O.V.E.R? It is a mobile office and exhibition unit based on a Citroen Relay 2.2HDi cab, it includes a spacious seating area, kitchen, toilet and Wi-Fi allowing our Neighbourhood coach to have a normal working day whilst also being fully immersed into the community.

Vicky Green (Head of Locality for The Black Country) and Jane Hinds (Locality Manager) spotted ROVER being presented at @makeshiftwolves and thought this would be a great opportunity to place ourselves physically in one of our schemes and see whether customers engage with us. Our localities team are great at spotting opportunities by being connected to a locality network which taps into a shared society, utilising things like R.O.V.E.R and other community assets in Wolverhampton.

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Neighborhood Coach Jo Harris-Thomson volunteered to take part in the first iteration of the test at Bromford Rise in Wolverhampton, and with 117 flats, we thought this was a great place to start. We kept the test fairly low key to see what would happen if we just turned up?

We put up some minimal signage, balloons, and tempted the customers at Bromford Rise with some sweet treats and warm drinks so they would hopefully come and have a nosey, say hello, see some new faces and generate some new conversations.

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The aim of the test for us was not only about the use of R.O.V.E.R for mobile working, but also to see how we could increase customer engagement. By having more face to face contact with customers and a centralised location rather than booking appointments and knocking doors, we hope this may reduce calls into our contact centre, potentially reduce repairs as well as building a better relationship with the Neighbourhood Coach.

So how did we get on? Jo managed to see 15 customers between 10am – 4pm with two of those being new faces. Topics of conversation ranged from rent account queries, new repairs and outstanding repair requests, Universal Credit inquiries, discussions of community information and upcoming events. It was also noted that drop-ins are potentially more effective at engaging those who feel isolated. Jo was also actively able to deal with queries in front of the customer, as well as coaching customers in to making calls if necessary.


So what’s next for R.O.V.E.R? We’re going to review our findings and start planning for the next iteration of the test and whether we will deploy R.O.V.E.R at other schemes and/or community events.

Overall it has been a really positive experience with round one of the test and a seamless professional service provided by R.O.V.E.R. We’re looking forward to welcoming more customers for round two in the new year with plenty more tea and cakes!

@K_MFletcher 

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