In our latest blog, Thrive Homes Operations Director Jo Barrett introduces the new Thrive Deal and what it means for our customers.
Achieving a fair deal for our customers is a key focus at Thrive Homes. We are also committed to our central values – to be open, respectful, reliable and professional. These are all crucial elements of how we do business.
Stemming from this approach, we are excited to launch the ‘Thrive Deal’, which we are introducing for our tenants this summer and will be rolling out to our shared ownership and leaseholders over the next 12 months.
The Deal aims to ensure we are crystal clear about our ‘offer’ (what our tenants can expect from us, as their landlord) and our ‘ask’ (what we expect from them as our customer). It will not change the terms of their existing tenancy agreement but simply clarify where everyone stands – thereby nurturing a balanced relationship, based on mutual understanding and respect.
There are a number of strands to the Thrive Deal, each of which will benefit both our customers and Thrive as an organisation.
Thrive’s core objective is to create quality homes where people enjoy living – and the Thrive Deal encapsulates how we will work with customers to provide them with a safe, secure, affordable, well-maintained, quality home.
To ensure we keep homes up to scratch, we have started carrying out inventories of our properties, which record details of their condition at the beginning (and end) of each new tenancy.
These are followed up by annual Home Plan visits when we check who is living there, assess its condition, flag up any necessary repairs and discuss any issues or concerns the occupants may have. This will help us to better understand our customers, their changing needs and aspirations, as well as allowing us to work with them to resolve any issues they may be facing – a ‘win-win’ all round.
We have introduced these visits for all new customers and will be rolling them out to our existing residents over the next four years.
A good relationship is a two-way street, with channels of communication which allow each party to work with the other to develop and evolve.
Our customers are important to us, so we strive to deliver a quality service at all times. In return, we ask that customers treat our teams and contractors with the same respect and consideration.
We are eager for customers to get involved and help shape our services, giving feedback on what we do well and what we can improve. Some of our residents play their part by sitting on our Customer Experience Panel (CEP). Made up of customers and Board members, the CEP ensures customers’ voices are heard at every level.
As a business, we are keen to make our services easier, simpler and more convenient to use. The myThrive app has been introduced so that customers can carry out their business with us at a time that suits them, in addition to using email or our website.
We monitor our performance and measure how well we are doing by various methods, including regular surveys. The CEP has helped us develop our survey questions and performance measures, so we can accurately assess whether we are delivering a good service which our customers are happy with.
Stability is crucial to enable people to feel safe, secure and supported. Having the reassurance of a reliable place to call home allows us to develop our lives, careers, relationships and sense of community.
This forms the basis of our ‘offer’ to customers – a stable tenancy, giving them the certainty of a roof over their head for an established period of time. They can also be confident of having a professional, ethical landlord who treats them fairly and they can rely upon.
In the interests of improved communication and quality service, the Thrive Deal includes the introduction of digital tenancies. They involve customers engaging with us online and paying rent by Direct Debit – an easier, more convenient way of keeping their account up to date than cash, cheque or card.
These tenancies are based on paying rent four weeks in advance, similar to the private rented sector. This reduces the risk of people getting behind with their rent – thereby helping to safeguard their home, while helping us maintain the income we need to provide our homes and services.
The overarching idea behind the Thrive Deal is to pave the way for a closer, healthier two-way relationship with our customers – where we value each other, listen to one another and work together to make a success of their tenancies.