“I can build the theory [using YouTube], but my confidence is low until someone has done it with me.”


- Customer involved in the Home Maintenance Coach test



When we wrapped up the Starting Well Engineer (SWE) pilot we created a set of insights and personas to feed in to our evaluation. We wanted to understand what an individual needs led service might look like by finding out more about:

  • The expectations we place on customers in relation to maintaining their home and tenancy obligations;

  • How we might take a coaching approach to support customers to meet these expectations where there is an identified need;

  • What training might look like for both Neighbourhood Coaches, Maintenance Engineers and Customers;

  • How we might increase customer skill, will and confidence in terms of maintaining their home to the expected standard and reduce the number of reactive repairs in a given locality area.

Image: Insights uncovered during qualitative research undertaken to support the Starting well Engineer pilot evaluation.

Image: Insights uncovered during qualitative research undertaken to support the Starting well Engineer pilot evaluation.

If you’ve been following our exploration pipeline you’ll have seen that we’ve been working with colleagues in Localities and Home Maintenance to run a new test for the past couple of months called Home Maintenance Coach (HMC). The ‘concept service’ has been designed based on learning derived from the SWE pilot. However, whilst the 3+ month HMC test might look like a pilot, we’ve deliberately used the word test because of one key fact - The HMC test is a dynamic learning opportunity. If the service isn’t working well one week, we’ll tweak the way we are doing things and deliver it differently the next. You can’t do that with a pilot. When the test ends, we will continue our work with colleagues from Localities and Home Maintenance in order to collate the learning and set out the best way to move forward. This might be a pilot, or it could be taking our learning back to the drawing board. User Research, or the act of understanding more about the people who are the intended users of the service is key to this learning process.


We’re about to enter the last few weeks of testing, so we thought that this would be an ideal time to start catching up with some of our customers who have been meeting with Wayne, the Home Maintenance Coach over the past few weeks in order to find out more about how things went for them and how they found their coaching experience.


Today, I visited our first customer to talk to about how useful he had found working with the Home Maintenance Coach. Here is a taster of what I learned:

  • The customer felt that his skill, will and confidence has increased since he started working with the HMC.

  • The customer was able to learn how to change taps, change a U-Bend and cut door architrave. He found it useful when the HMC could leave practice materials so that he could practice safely on his own without risk of causing damage.

  • What the customer was able to learn was limited by what work needed to be completed in his flat. He would have ideally liked to learn how to hang doors and plaster walls, but as there was no need for these tasks to be completed it was unable to be part of the work undertaken with the HMC.

  • The customer was motivated to help other people who lived near him and was able to use some of the paint provided to him by Bromford to paint the living room of a neighbours flat.

  • The customer felt that completing the Home Maintenance Journal was useful in order to help people commit to the coaching process as well as a way of helping customers to rationalise what they have learned and provide a handy resource for future reference.


I will be writing up our conversation in detail and we will be including all of the insights gathered from all interviews in our evaluation report.

Image: Home Maintenance Journal with tap and pipe configuration provided to allow the customer to practice.

Image: Home Maintenance Journal with tap and pipe configuration provided to allow the customer to practice.

We will be ending the test in the next few weeks, so please watch out for the updates we will be posting on Trello and the blog. If you are interested in hearing more, or have any insights you would like to share with us, we would love to hear from you.


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@simon_penny

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