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East Thames wins at Complaints Handling Awards

We are delighted to announce that East Thames has beaten the competition to take home the top prize in the not for profit and charity category of the inaugural UK Complaint Handling Awards.

After being shortlisted to the final four, East Thames took on Macmillan Cancer Support, ASRA Housing Group and Cirrus at an event in central London on Thursday 23 February. Each organisation delivered a presentation that demonstrated the way that they deal with complaints and the winner was selected by a panel of expert judges from both the public and private sectors.

Our entry described the cultural transformation of East Thames and how this has enabled us to makes changes to the way that we deal with complaints, which have improved both the customer journey and experience.. Our new approach took the focus away from timescales to respond and placed it firmly on resolution agreed with the customer. The changes implemented came from a joint approach between East Thames front line staff and our Housing Scrutiny Panel.  To ensure we delivered something that met our customers’ needs, we surveyed our residents to and incorporated their recommendations into our new way of working.

East Thames worked in partnership with Accelerator training solutions to deliver a comprehensive staff development package accredited by the Institute of Customer Services. Through this partnership 322 East Thames staff have completed customer service training and personally delivered customer service improvements plans.  We also developed a ‘Licenced to Resolve’ training programme to support nominated complaints champions throughout the business.  This training is now available to all East Thames staff.  Since the implementation of the new way of working, customer satisfaction with complaint handling at East Thames has improved significantly and now ranks amongst the best in the public sector. East Thames continues to review the service and is seeing an improvement in customer satisfaction every month.

Avis Rhodes, head of customer services for East Thames said “Customers are at the heart of everything we do and we are thrilled to have our work recognised through the UK Complaints Handling Awards. We’ve invested a lot of time and resource into creating a service that we can be proud of, that benefits both our customers and our staff.”