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Tea and a chat - Chris Ducker, Business Customer Experience and Insights Team Leader

Category: testimonial, What Our People Say, Staff Testimonial, Supported Housing, PA Housing, charity and non-profit


As we continue our series of articles featuring members of the PA Housing team, Business Customer Experience and Insights Team Leader Christopher Ducker joins us via Zoom to share what it's been like to take on new management responsibilities during lockdown.

What is your average day usually like?

I tend to work a standard 9am to 5pm day, which is spent focusing on customer journey mapping. A crucial our job in Business Customer Experience and Insights is interviewing customers, understanding their feedback, and improving PA's processes based upon the knowledge we've gained.

We systematically review the way PA interacts with customers and uses data, and right now we're looking at Home Moves ­– what is it like to be customer handing your keys back to PA? And what are the experiences of new customers moving into our homes?

We systematically review the way PA interacts with customers and uses data, and right now we're looking at Home Moves ­– what is it like to be customer handing your keys back to PA? And what are the experiences of new customers moving into our homes?

By November, we'll have a new satisfaction platform in place across the organisation, and I'm working with every PA team to make sure we procure a solution that works for everyone.

What has your average day been like during the Covid-19 crisis?

I get to start earlier, which is great – I now work 8am to 4pm – and I, like most people I've spoken to, am far more productive working at home. I'm more focused.

The way my team goes about gathering insights and information has had to change. We're not the experts in home moves, so we need to talk to the Home Moves Team ­– whereas we'd usually gather everyone together in a workshop, we're now having to meet virtually, with our first virtual workshop with colleagues taking place in a couple of weeks. We'll be using the workshop to find out what the team would like to change about their customers' current journey with PA.

Since lockdown began, it hasn't felt appropriate to reach out to residents in the way we normally would, sending them messages about services they may or may not have engaged with – people have had too many other things to deal with. However, we're now getting to a place where it will feel okay to restart gathering feedback from residents.

What is the most important thing you've learned during this unusual time?​

At the start of lockdown I was managing one person, now I'm managing five. I actually think I've got to know the members of my team more quickly than I would have during ordinary circumstances.

Two of my team members are based with me in the Leicester office and three are based in Walton-on-Thames. I know that, if I'd been able to, I'd have put so much value on travelling down to Surrey and having face-to-face meetings, which would have involved getting up early to travel and arriving home late, potentially staying over. Being in lockdown and needing to meet with my team virtually has led to me getting a much better understanding of what their lives are like.

When you meet people in the office, you go through the usual conversations, like, "How was your weekend", but via video, we're having much more meaningful conversations about how people are getting on, as well as checking in with one another and chatting about non-work-related things, such as what we're watching on Netflix.

Before this, we'd have wondered whether everyone working from home was feasible. It's certainly pushed me out of my comfort zone. I think that, on reflection, a lot of us are learning that many of the ways we used to go about doing things were not always the most efficient. ​

What is your favourite part of your job?

Making things better. Customer journey mapping is all about understanding what we do well and what we can improve, usually based upon the knowledge we already have within the business.

Things don't have to be way they are and have always been ­– improving our processes can make things better.

Being able to visualize customers' journey is really gratifying – you can see how the intricacies of customers' experience with our organisation matter, and how everybody within PA plays a part in this.

I like to understand the detail behind customer feedback and building the story that lies behind it.​

What would you say makes you unique?

My enthusiasm. Whatever the challenge, I'm up for it. I want to do a good job and make things better for PA Housing.

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