Yorkshire Housing

The Need

First Impression Training were recommended to Yorkshire Housing Association by their Head of Customer Services, who FIT had worked with previously. This L&D initiative had been instigated following an audit review by the CQC, outlining the need for frontline staff to be better equipped to deal with difficult calls / callers into their centre, where conversations were consistently being escalated as a result of staff not feeling confident or competent enough to manage the call effectively to ensure a win win outcome.

The Solution

As part of a skills-development programme to build the service culture and empower frontline staff to effectively manage conversation, in order to improve the customer experience, FIT designed and delivered a customer service training programme ‘Communicating for the Win-Win’ which was rolled out to all frontline staff in Customer Services and Incomes, as well as to all departmental heads across the business.

Having focused on the numbers for so long (those call centre metrics that reflect efficiency not effectiveness, including how quickly they could get through a call and on to the next one) the FIT team had an arduous task ahead of them. Not only did they have to win hearts and minds about the behavioural change that would arise from this L&D initiative, but also how frontliners would need to assume responsibility after the training and personally manage customer conversations and outcomes more effectively.

We spent time ‘up close and personal’ on the frontline through the FIT Screening/Healthcheck process, and were able to contextualise every FIT tip, technique and idea shared during the programme itself When staff returned to their desks, they were armed with a personal action plan of practical, workable ideas and strategies that they could apply immediately into their daily conversations, in order to de-escalate (and even prevent) situations from being referred in the first instance.

A management awayday followed the roll-out of the programme to the frontline, where we developed a best practice approach to YHA service delivery, fully aligned with project objectives and the company’s core ethos and brand values. During the event, we built QA processes to effectively test and measure both improvements in performance (using a range of call centre metrics) and behaviour and agreed customer journey touchpoints that would require regular analysis (and subsequent action) to ensure the customer experience continued to improve moving forward.

The Results

  • Satisfaction with general enquiries increased from 78% to 86%
  • 25% reduction in total calls received (right first-time culture / escalation reduction) from 213,685 to 160,964
  • Increase in number of compliments for positive customer service advisors from 9% to 16%
  • Increase in number of complaints closed within SLA from 55% to 81%

The impact of the programme itself has been significant – feedback across the board has been rated ‘excellent’ and learner verbatims are extremely encouraging:


“In one word – brilliant! I just want to say how much I enjoyed the workshop and felt it really hit the mark to the brief given – it felt at times like you had got inside my head!!! Thank you so much”.

Julie Griffiths, Head of Customer Services

“Fantastic! Like the fact it was totally focused on how the learning relates to US and how we can embed the learning into YHA – excellent content and excellent delivery!”

Melanie Price, Workstream Implementer / Income Manager

“In a word – FAB! Best part of the day was getting all the team leaders and managers together – really interesting discussions and insights and it was good to share Best Practice for moving us forward.”

Amelia Mann, Income Performance Officer

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