Knowledge Management Solution for Housing Association

Nintex and TSG solution saves Home Group £220,000 and reduces new employee training time by 67%

Founded by an act of parliament in the 1930s, Home Group is a social enterprise and charity in the United Kingdom which provides both social services and private housing to tens of thousands of tenants and prospective property owners in England, Scotland, and Wales. They service well over 120,000 customers and also provide housing-based support programs that provide one-on-one care for people who are dealing with issues related to alcohol, drugs, and domestic violence—to name but a few.

The ultimate goal of Home Group is to utilize their housing stock to help people who need help and open doors to happier and healthier lives.  When something goes wrong in one of those 55,000 homes, these tenants call Home Group who needs to book an engineer to repair the central heating unit or deal with the broken fence.

Managing such far-flung logistics used to mean there was a possibility of making mistakes which could translate into multiple visits from maintenance vendors – and if the plumber had to make the house call, regardless of whether or not there was something to be fixed, he had to be paid.

Partners in Aid

Senior IS Manager Paul Fitton knew Home Group needed a technology partner who could help develop a knowledge management system for the Home Group Customer Services team. The desired solution had to be standardised yet flexible. That is where partner Technology Services Group (TSG) came in. They recommended building a knowledge management solution using SharePoint Online and Nintex Form and Nintex Workflow. Fitton immediately saw the appeal. “Nintex was the right choice—especially with a price point that was £200,000 less than competitors,” Fitton says.

Ready to Help at Full Speed

Home Group receives over 24,000 repair calls every month. When a call comes in from a customer, the call centre staff collects information onto Nintex Forms. They submit the Nintex Form to kick-start a workflow. The Workflow coaches the staff member through a series of questions. Depending on the caller’s answers, the staff member is lead step-by-step to the correct solution, which might be anything from noting that the rent has been paid to sending out the correct repair person and automatically booking the time on the Home Group calendar. All reports are logged for future use.

In this solution, Nintex Forms are put to great use as a step-by-step guided route to the questions Home Group wants its call centre staff to ask when speaking to customers. “Now that information is in one place, it is easier to find. Advisors not only save time, but their work is more accurate because relevant details are up to date,” Fitton says.

“We don’t need to have everyone fully knowledgeable in every area because the call centre staff is guided along by the knowledge system. As long as they’re asking the right questions and putting in the right answers, they’ll find the solution.” Fitton says. “The system guides staff through every eventuality, narrowing down to a single answer which tells them what to do and where to go. And it integrates into the business contractor solution and pops the proper appointment on the right calendar, reducing the need for second or even misplaced maintenance calls.”

With the new system, training has gone from one month to 10 days—now the main thing new agents learn are customer service basics in relation to the conversation skills required to deliver the customer experience. According to Donna Middleton, Home Group Director of Customer Experience, “We have seen an improvement in the quality of our call handling and our overall customer experience, which was a key reason for undertaking this project.”

With Nintex, Home Group can respond to business drivers instantly. Home Group is able to reuse workflows in Nintex to build new workflows, and points of failure are being eliminated. Nintex is easily configured so solutions do whatever is necessary, and reports go out while also maintaining security in SharePoint. That enables Home Group’s Information Systems department to answer business questions faster and more efficiently than ever before. Prior to the Nintex solution, it would take a good month to get a new customer service operative trained and able to take calls. Now anyone in the call centre can address any question.

Home Group’s knowledge management team has added over 20 new workflows in Nintex: from hardware upgrades, to repair scheduling, to outreach reminders. And Fitton is already making plans to roll out additional Nintex solutions in the future. “Nintex has given us the confidence that with the right tools we can solve real business issues in a timely and appealing fashion.”

There has also been a reduction in second visits to fix problems through customer service advisors collecting the correct and relevant information from customers on the initial call. This provides more consistent and comprehensive detail for contractors and has resulted in an improved first time dispatch accuracy, with the error rate now below three-percent. It will likely continue to fall as Home Group further refines and develops its knowledge trees using Nintex Workflow and Nintex Forms.

Happy Results

When the solution first went live, it was obvious that Home Group had got something right. There were very few questions about how to work with the new system. There was no long ramp up, and the staff (old and new alike) were able to pick up and run with the new system quickly. It was almost instantaneous. The knowledge tree style approach and dynamic forms guide tenants until they resolve their issue or schedule it for future resolution. The total savings from using Nintex Workflow and Nintex Forms is on track, estimated to be over £220,000 in the first year alone.