Central Bedfordshire Council

Client


Central Bedfordshire Council manages 5390 properties with over 12,000 tenants within them. Their responsibilities include routine maintenance as well as major works programs and new housing builds. They average 25,000 routine repairs a year, which are reported by tenants through a telephone line or customer app. As part of the UK government’s “Digital by Default” agenda, the client prioritises digitalisation, modernisation, and transformation.

Challenge


First-time fix rates and the convenience of scheduling repairs were a pain point even before the COVID-19 crisis. Early research showed that the majority of tenants had smartphones and were comfortable accessing services online. The client recognised the potential for digital solutions to improve this process.


At the beginning of the pandemic, Central Bedfordshire Council’s digital transformation needs became crucial. During early lockdowns, emergency repairs continued but routine repairs decreased, with tenants reluctant to schedule in-person visits. A combination of virtual and limited face-to-face solutions were needed to continue services while minimising risk for both tenants and workers.


Security was paramount, as well as the need for a solution that could directly provide resources to tenants and collect information about their needs including photos and measurements.

Solution


The Central Bedfordshire Council deployed SightCall in a matter of weeks to their maintenance advisory team – the ones responsible for responding to tenant repair requests.


Using a combination of SightCall and diagnostic software, the team were able to triage repairs by viewing the problem remotely and consulting their technical documentation. This eliminated the need to have highly trained experts on the front-line of customer support, or a site visit.


The use cases quickly expanded to the entire property team as well as asset planning teams. Employees and workers can now approve or void work orders, verify emergency requests, and plan and manage large renovation projects remotely.

Benefits


The need for multiple site visits and the associated travel time was drastically reduced, through guided self-service and the collection of more accurate information about the repair needed, including any required materials and tools. First-time fix rates have risen from 77.3% to 98.84% since deployment.


Reducing the number of unnecessary site visits increases the total number of repairs that can be completed by the team. Within weeks of deploying SightCall the maintenance teams were able to clear the backlog created as a result of COVID-related restrictions.


Guided self-service repairs for simple problems was an unexpected benefit. With minimal training, the maintenance advisors were able to use SightCall and their diagnostic software to help tenants resolve problems without the need for a site visit.


Tenants have been very vocal about their appreciation for the remote visual support offering and customer satisfaction is at an all-time high in the late 90s.


“All of our tenants love it. Our oldest tenant is 90 years old and she loved it. With SightCall when we do enter their property, we are fixing the repair issue immediately– not just some cursory sticking plaster and saying, ‘I’ll be back,' but a true first-time fix.” Kim Hopcroft, Operations Manager Central Bedfordshire Council.


“What really impressed us was the speed at which the team were able to make an impact. The operatives adapted their process, and their customer engagement to leverage live video only where it added value. This encouraged the user adoption, and the results were very impressive. It’s great to see an organisation react to a change in environment so quickly, and we’re looking forward to seeing the impact in other areas of their business.” Richard Forsyth, SightCall Sales Director.