The HCA has pointed out that a tough operating environment makes VFM even more important than ever. The same might be said of satisfaction surveys.
The value of what social landlords do is at risk thanks to a bewildering combination of government policies that are at odds with the sector’s values (eg an apparent ideological aversion to social renting) or simply badly thought through (eg the threat posed to supported housing by limiting HB to LHA levels).
The challenge in such circumstances is to chart a course that ensures the organisation retains the capacity to deliver as much of the value it was created to produce whilst remaining financially viable.
So far so obvious but how does the humble satisfaction survey help?
Business intelligence: service performance and customer insight
As with other performance data, satisfaction results enable you to understand the customer experience and how well services are performing. It helps you ‘do things right’ by pinpointing where you need to improve performance (efficiency), avoid wasting money (economy) and set targets based on what yours peers or the best can deliver.
Increasingly, satisfaction surveys have a customer insight component to better understand service user priorities, preferences and propensities. Such intelligence is vital in terms of ensuring effectiveness. There is no point in being efficient if you are not being effective by directing resources to ‘the right things’, ie delivering what’s important to service users in the preferred format.
Accountability to customers and other stakeholders
The transparent communication of performance is essential to the credibility of not-for-profit organisations that place the service user at the heart of what they do, and especially so where those customers may be vulnerable and have limited or no opportunity to shop around. If government, regulator or hard-pressed voluntary sector is not in a position to champion such customers, it falls to organisational values and self-regulation.
Such transparent communication provides the opportunity for challenge as well as involvement in shaping and improving the service offer. It is also a regulatory expectation.
Make sure it works for you
In tough operating environments, business intelligence has a critical role to play in understanding the current state of play and determining an evidence-based course of action to move to a better place. Satisfaction surveys remain an essential component in completing the business intelligence picture, complementing customer insight and cost and performance data.
Of course, in order to make this work, you need to make sure that your survey findings will give you the intelligence and insight that you need.
For information and advice about that please contact us or click here for tips on for getting the most from your satisfaction survey.