Housing association support staff get hands-on help with heating and hot water

Housing association support staff get hands-on help with heating and hot water

A recent training course has helped the customer-facing staff at Bromsgrove District Housing Trust (bdht) to ensure that tenants can manage their heating and hot water, without requiring an engineer.

The leading provider of affordable housing in Bromsgrove, bdht, arranged the course for all customer service staff after identifying that a number of boiler-related callouts often stemmed from customer difficulties with the heating’s controls.

The housing provider decided to train support staff in understanding common heating or boiler problems and resolving them without the need for an engineer.

Jeanette Matthews, Head of Customer Delivery at bdht, said: “Over the past two years we’ve spent over £500,000 on improving energy efficiency in our homes, and this has included the installation of around 245 new boilers.

“Many of our tenants were not familiar with the controls that came with these boilers and often struggled to set their heating timers correctly, particularly when the clocks changed. This led to a number of costly engineer callouts for relatively straightforward problems.”

bdht decided to approach Worcester Bosch, who it has worked with for a number of years, to train support staff in programming and troubleshooting heating controls so that staff could then pass this information on to the customer and resolve queries quickly and efficiently.

The session was delivered by Stuart Hawksworth, one of five mobile training engineers at Worcester Bosch. Using a board equipped with three working heat controls and thermostats, Stuart took participants through the basic functionality of the controls, including setting the time, date, and timer, as well as some common problems.

Stuart commented: “In training bdht’s support staff, our objective has been to help them solve common problems, such as incorrect settings or loss of power supply, without needing the help of an engineer. Not only can they pass this knowledge on to the customer, who can then manage his or her own heating controls, but they also free up the engineer’s time for more complex tasks.”

bdht staff were split into small groups of three or four people, all of whom were encouraged to use the controls while receiving instructions. Dan Bolsher, Customer First Assistant at bdht, said: “When a customer calls with a problem, we’re often working with limited information. With a solid grounding in the basics, we can diagnose repairs quickly to help customers get their heating going again. If the situation still requires an engineer, we can brief them fully so they can complete the job easily and efficiently.”

Claire Chapman, a Senior Advisor on the customer first team at bdht, added: “Training like this gives the staff the confidence to pass this information onto the customer, who can then use it to programme and control his or her heating, without needing to wait for external assistance.”

Worcester Bosch offers a mobile training service for all customers. It conducts approximately 1,000 offsite courses each year.

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