The construction industry constantly throws up challenges and obstacles for home builders, housing associations and commercial contractors. As a defect and repair resolution software company, clixifix® is positioned to improve communication, defect reporting and customer care, to ensure end users receive the best information about how defects and repairs are progressing.
To be able to understand specific challenges from people within the industry, clixifix® are conducting a number of industry-led focus groups to firstly inform their customers of developments and constant improvements, while also soaking up constructive feedback and applying technical developments based on the insight they receive from these forums.
After the success of their first focus group in Sunderland, clixifix® ventured south to Leeds to connect with regional and national customers that are based between Yorkshire and London. The focus group is designed to generate a frank and open dialogue about challenges and improvements.
clixifix® is a dynamic ConTech and PropTech business that delivers innovative and leading defect management software to housing associations all over the UK.
The customers that took part in the focus group were:
Homes by Esh:
Lynsey Kelly (Head of Customer Service)
Jemma Todd (Customer Support Coordinator)
Fiona Ventress (Customer Service Manager)
Amy ONeil (Housing Customer Coordinator)
Claire Trevett (Senior Development Project Manager)
Amanda Tiler (Customer Care Manager)
Sharon Curtis (Customer Care Manager)
Vicky Tate (Customer Care Coordinator)
Ross Marvin (Operations Director)
Helen Aubrey (Customer Care Manager)
Paul Moran (New Homes Sales Executive)
Pam Rostron (Aftercare Manager)
Mohammed Saad Luay Jeryo
Challenges that were discussed with attendees included inspection list integration, defect implementation and sub-categorisation, data manipulation, weekly bespoke reporting, subcontractor communication, digitising defects and reporting capabilities.
These series of focus groups will allow clixifix® to build up a bank of knowledge and understanding on how to develop and react to the ever-changing industry.
The vision for clixifix® is to consistently conduct focus groups with their customers to understand the challenges of the industry, build the knowledge to react and combat technological issues and grow stronger relationships with customers across the country.
The main areas discussed in the focus group were:
– UX/UI (user experience and user interface)
– Complaints process
– Inspection list
– Technicians App
Insights into the challenges
The construction customer care industry can pose many challenges to the housing sector. Each house builder, housing association or commercial contractors that work with clixifix® experience different challenges that need to be addressed. A common theme that came through was how the customers benefit from direct face to face interaction with other customers and with clixifix® personnel themselves, including the CEO, James Farrell.
Ross Marvin, Operations Director at Shanly Homes says
“A major challenge for us is email defect integration. Our biggest challenge for our customer care team is responding to emails. Communication should all come from our customer care team, we want to get to a place where all communication is consistent and I believe using clixifix® will help us to achieve this. We should be able to transfer everything from our inbound customer care into clixifix®. With a customer care system, everything inbound and outbound for customer care should be in one place.”
Paul Moran, New Homes Sales Executive at Duchy Homes says,
“Having the ability to engage with clixifix® was extremely important, we discussed improving engagement, functionality and communication with subcontractors. It was also refreshing to understand how the complaints process and inspection list are being streamlined and how it can be adapted to support all parties. It is clear that clixifix® are developing a platform that is trying to please everyone’s agenda and that is almost impossible, however I am encouraged to see the transparency in which they presented their future plans and their ability to absorb our feedback.”
Claire Trevett, Senior Development Project Manager at Cube Homes says,
“To have the opportunity to speak directly with clixifix® to understand and iron out any queries we have on the functionality of the platform is vital. I believe it is important to house all defects, documents and communications in one place, it ensures that all parties including subcontractors are informed. One of the most valuable parts of the focus group was actually understanding the processes that other companies use and what challenges they are facing. It was also helpful to discuss our challenge of generating PDFs of our top 10 defects and subcategories, thus being able to distribute this information.”
Fiona Ventress, Customer Service Manager at Thirteen Group says,
“Being able to discuss the functionality of clixifix® is important, being able to quickly and efficiently report defects is one of main responsibilities I have, so having the opportunity in this focus group to discuss processes makes everyone’s life easier. clixifix® has improved our communication, I think the biggest challenge is for the whole of the construction sector to embrace technology.”
A focal point was the process whereby tenants brought issues and complaints to the attention of the landlord or housing association. An example of a task/complaint would be a new homeowner has noticed a leaky tap and requires a subcontractor to address the problem.
The clixifix® platform allows customers to communicate professionally through standardised issues assessment and response letters. It was clear that the priority for users is to have active complaints prominently displayed, being able to streamline them and ensure that they are not being missed. Having the ability to manage multiple complaints at the same time is hugely important for users, having a to-do-list showing upcoming tasks could be introduced to focus on different subjects starting with complaints. Having the ability to constantly notify the users of upcoming tasks and putting a process in place if a member of the team has missed the deadline of a task is paramount.
The development of the inspection lists has ensured improved functionality between the tickets that are raised by either a homeowner or housing association and the defects. With the customers KPI’s set up in the system and the inspection list will reflect those goals, providing a streamlined approach to inputting data. The platform will allow you to nominate the same tickets in a defect for multiple contractors. Another function introduced was having the ability to filter down the lists to individual subcontractors or individual sites, this improved the ability to select the most appropriate data.
The Technicians App has the capability to deliver mobile processes that will improve response times and communication, a key function is allowing subcontractors to see nominations from a housing association for a potential task while out on a job, prior to this development they were only able to see nominations on the desktop. Via the app subcontractors will be able to accept or reject a nomination and explain why. Ultimately the Technicians App is designed to streamline communication away from the desktop and improve subcontractors workflow.
clixifix® are constantly developing the interface and functionality of the Technicians App, the app includes sending jobs to contractors, 2-way messaging, real time location and in-app completion. All areas of the app are constantly being reviewed to meet the demands of the users.
A word from clixifix®
James Farrell, CEO and co-founder of clixifix®, said:
“We were delighted with the interaction and engagement we received from our customers. This being our second focus group we decided to move further south and create a discussion about technology and construction in Leeds. We felt that the focus group was extremely insightful for both the clixifix® team and our customers. To have the opportunity to gain first-hand feedback is invaluable, we will be able to use this feedback to develop our product and support our customers.”