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Osborne Focus

Osborne Focus

Turning complaints into compliments


Tenant complaints are generally on the rise, but Osborne has managed to buck the trend and cut costs. Its managing director, Carol Bailey, explains how to hear more at Homes 2016

A recent HouseMark report on customer satisfaction found tenant complaints rising from 27.6 in every 1,000 social homes in 2013/14, to 33 per every 1,000 homes in 2015/16. This coincides with a period when many social landlords have been cutting back in an effort to become more efficient.

You may think a more efficient service unavoidably means customer service takes a hit – but you’d better think again.

In our session at Homes 2016, we will outline how Osborne has successfully worked with our clients to generate savings, while improving the housing service.

For instance, while other landlords have seen their level of complaints rise, the London Borough of Waltham Forest – working in partnership with Osborne – has seen its complaints fall. In 2015/16, there were 22 complaints per 1,000 homes – down a third on the previous year.

Getting to this point has not been plain-sailing. Jo Causon, chief executive of the Institute of Customer Service, is speaking at our session at Homes 2016, and she says: ‘Reducing the incidence of problems and complaints should be the priority for any UK business, but the reality is we live in a world where things sometimes go wrong. How organisations respond to these situations is critical to the development of long-term customer relationships.’

Jo adds: ‘With customer demands increasingly focused on behaviour and the service experience, organisations will need to work hard to continue to deliver on customer satisfaction and retain loyalty. The helpfulness of staff and ensuring employees react positively to complaints are critical areas with potential for improvement, especially as the latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index suggests that staff competence is mentioned as an issue in 1 out of every 4 complaints.’

While we have worked hard to deliver an excellent customer experience, this increase in customer satisfaction has not come at a cost. In fact, separate HouseMark research has shown that Waltham Forest’s housing repairs service is one of the best among its London peers, due to the low cost per property of repairs.

This result is not a one-off.

Osborne has seen similar performance with other clients, such as Dacorum Borough Council. Here, more effective property investment analysis has allowed more targeted planned maintenance.

Void periods are shorter and this is part of the reason why the council has realised £1.1 million in efficiency savings and additional income in the first 18 months of working with Osborne.

Doing more with less is not just a cliché. It is a reality. Come to our session at Homes 2016 to find out more.


16 November, Homes 2016, London Olympia, Theatre 3, 3.15pm


  • Carol Bailey, Managing director, Osborne Property Services
  • Andrew Sharp, Director, Osborne Property Services
  • Jo Causon, Chief executive, the Institute of Customer Service


Carol Bailey

Carol Bailey, Managing director, Osborne Property Services

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