In light of the current situation we knew many of our customers would be extremely worried and it was decided that a simple phone call might be able to alleviate some of their concerns.
Many colleagues within PA Housing volunteered to make these calls in addition to their normal daily job role tasks. Within the general needs stock we are aware that many of our customers would be considered to be in the ‘at risk’ category with regards to the COVID-19 outbreak. A majority of these customers would have been living a very independent life without the need of any support at all.
However, due to the government guidelines, asking all over 70’s to stay in for at least the next 12 weeks, many of our customers could be left feeling very isolated.
Initially, the welfare calls would be for all the over 70’s to check if they are feeling well, have they got support from family or are they self-isolating? In addition to the questions about their health, we also asked about financial their situation and if they have food, often advising them where they can order food locally and from any foodbanks located nearby.
Lastly, we asked if they would like a call-back on a weekly or fortnightly basis just in case any issues arise or if they simply would like a chat.
Many people we spoke to said that they would appreciate a call back just for peace of mind. Anyone that we spoke to that we deemed to be not coping or in need of further support we had an emergency email to send details and issues.
I personally called about 100 customers and the reaction I received was so heartwarming. People were so touched and appreciative. One lady I spoke to said that although she was fine I was the first person she had spoken to in days, and this call lasted for 35 minutes. Another lady who was 96 said she was waiting for a district nurse to visit to dress a cancer wound as they normally do twice weekly. No one had turned up that week and she was extremely worried and in a lot of discomfort. I managed to find out after a few calls and being on hold for about 20 minutes, as understandably they were extremely busy, that someone was attending her property later that day. When I called back the relief in her voice was palpable. There are many more examples across the organisation of good service like this.
As this has worked so well with the over 70’s we have now extended it to the over 60’s. Currently, a total of 3,623 call requests from customers over the age over 60 have been allocated to around 160 members of staff. So far we have made contact with 2,378 customers either by phone, email or letter. Regular call-back contacts are being made to 659 customers fortnightly or weekly. A great achievement, I think you’ll agree.
PA Housing is a registered provider of social housing, offering more than 23,000 homes across the Midlands, London and South East with a range of housing solutions. PA Housing is so much more than a roof over someone’s head. It offers a wide range of services from support with benefits entitlement to help getting back into employment. We see it as a priority to deliver a consistent and high standard of customer service as well as caring passionately about the wellbeing of the people we serve.