Case Study | Thirteen

ROCC Has led the digital transformation of Thirteen’s repairs service driving customer satisfaction to record levels and saving more that £500,000 by enabling the completion of more jobs.

One Thirteen Group engineer stood away from the van whilst another engineer unloads equipment.

As a result of ROCC’s partnership, Right First Time fixes have risen to more than 98% with Thirteen’s 330 repairs and maintenance operatives becoming more engaged, with a renewed focus on great customer experience.

Thirteen is the largest landlord in the North East. It owns and manages more than 34,000 homes, with the majority in the Tees Valley area. Thirteen’s 1,600 colleagues help to improve the lives of more than 70,000 customers with the purpose of providing homes, support and opportunities to grow. Thirteen has responsive and programmed repairs, emergencies and appointments, which make up 140,000 repairs requests per year.

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The Challenge

Thirteen identified a business case to procure a new IT system for repairs in early 2017, as it had been experiencing outages and issues with its gas servicing and repairs service. Thirteen therefore took the strategic decision to implement a more bespoke approach to repairs and maintenance, taking repairs out of the main housing management system.

Housing technology specialists ROCC were selected by Thirteen to deliver a first-class repairs and maintenance service to its customers and ROCC’s Repairs System went live in September 2017, replacing existing repairs and maintenance software. The ROCC solution was flexible, responsive to Thirteen’s needs and delivered successfully to agreed timescales.

The project aimed to provide a more robust, efficient and effective repairs and maintenance service to customers. This ultimately required an automation of the process of passing work to operatives via job scheduling and having the ability to provide appointments to meet customers’ needs. This was achieved by integrating ROCC’s Housing Repairs system with job scheduling and operative mobile working software.

The transformation of our repairs process has been remarkable, with ROCC’s support really enhancing our repairs system, helping us to improve our service even further tor customers. We chose ROCC as an expansion of our journey, meeting customer needs and expectations.

Dave Ripley, Executive Director of Customer Services for Thirteen
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The Strategy

Due to the size and scale of the operational team, Thirteen broke the project down into three parts. Gas servicing and day-to-day repairs successfully went live in September 2017; implementing three new integrating systems for gas servicing and day-to-day repairs in eight months was a significant achievement.

Lesley Addison, Senior Data Structure Manager for Thirteen, said: “Delivering the project in an eight-month timescale was a fantastic achievement. Our digital transformation for repairs required collaborative working between our Property Services, Customer Services, Finance and IT teams, significantly improving our offer to customers. Go-live was extremely smooth and operationally there was a real buzz. ROCC worked really well with us and continue to work really well. They are a great supplier to work with.”

ROCC completed the initial first phase of the project for responsive repairs, focusing on urgent day-to-day cyclical works in the second phase. The ROCC system enabled a unified approach to responsive and programmed demands, emergencies and appointments.

ROCC’s Housing Repairs system delivers up-to-date information where it is needed to support operatives and customers, handling and checking jobs against customer requirements and enabling extra detail to be inputted by the operatives which is updated in real time. The ROCC solution reaches out across secure internet and mobile networks, assisting Thirteen Group’s operatives to deliver a more efficient service to customers, as well as a streamlined process.

In May 2019, the out-of-hours repairs service was automated, which was previously managed on spreadsheets. Also, Thirteen went live with electrical periodic testing which involved automating the cyclical five-year programme for more than 34,000 properties. The process had previously been managed manually on spreadsheets.

Empty properties (voids) went live from September to December 2019. This involved full automation of empty property repairs and moving more than 100 employees from a completely manual process to receiving and completing works digitally on devices.

Expanding our systems has enabled us to now deliver a one-stop-shop, bringing in new services. This has been a seamless approach which we can use tor other contracts in the future.

Our priority is to deliver a greater customer experience and this new system has enabled us to improve the service we provide even further. We listened to what our customers wanted from their repairs service and we’re confident that this new system is providing a much improved and more efficient repairs service.

Dave Ripley, Executive Director of Customer Services for Thirteen
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The Results

The new systems have enabled a unified approach to repairs, helping to digitally transform Thirteen’s repairs and maintenance service for customers.

As well as unifying repairs systems at Thirteen, which had inherited a range of software solutions via mergers, ROCC has also recently added a My Repairs tenant portal, enabling customers to report a repair. This is now being further developed, empowering customers to self-serve their repairs requests online 24/7.

Having the new systems in place has enabled Thirteen to transform its delivery of repairs and maintenance:

  • in November 2019, customer satisfaction reached 92.8% for repairs, the highest satisfaction index rate since recording began in November 2016. Performance is independently verified.
  • Thirteen continues to work closely with its customers to respond to the ever-changing needs. In October 2019, Thirteen introduced next day appointments for repairs which shortly after was changed to new convenient appointments within five days, giving more choice as a result of feedback from customers. Evening and weekend appointments were also identified, which are now provided.
  • More customers are given specific appointments which suit them, including morning, afternoon, all day or to avoid school runs. This makes life easier for customers, as well as reducing the numbers of jobs to be rescheduled.
  • Right First Time figures for repairs are now surpassing targets of 98% (90% to 2016/17) and the average time taken to complete non-emergency repairs has reduced to 5.8 days in February 2020 (8 day target for 2019/2020), a huge reduction from the 12.56 days average for 2016/17, helped by the enhanced IT systems.
  • Planning has improved, enabling operatives to get more jobs completed in a day, for example, numbers in 2016/17 we are completing an average of four jobs per day, for 2019/2020 the target is 6.
  • Thirteen has reduced its sub-contractor spend by over £500,000 by delivering more work in-house.
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Looking to the future

Thirteen’s repairs and maintenance service is now maintaining top Quartile performance. Bearing in mind the impact of Covid-19, customers will be able to self-serve over the next six months using ROCC’s tenant portal by logging their repair requests at a time to suit them. In 2020, Thirteen’s also looking at trialling ROCC’s portal for contractors.

Dave Ripley, added: “The digital transformation of our repairs service has been a catalyst for improved performance which has become embedded within all teams, providing us with a reinvigorated vision to drive customer experience. Our successful partnership with ROCC has enabled our more engaged workforce to achieve record levels of customer satisfaction for repairs. Our customers are seeing the positive impact and our maintenance teams have greater capability from their enhanced agility.”

As well as driving efficiencies, ROCC’s solutions are making work more rewarding for Thirteen’s colleagues. Receiving his long service award, Peter Burton, Void Operative for Thirteen, added: “I’ve been here 40 years and I can honestly say this is the happiest I’ve ever been in my job.”

© ROCC Ltd