We ran our first ever Curo Labs in January 2019, inviting customers to drop in to our offices at The Maltings in Bath through a Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with an additional session on the Thursday evening.
Around 150 customers came along and gave us their thoughts on a number of improvements and projects we are currently working on. Aside from the insight this provided, we were also able to further develop relationships with these customers – most of whom stayed for around two hours – and deal with a number of additional issues, including the services we need to provide for deaf customers.
What we heard, loud and clear, was:
- There is a lot of demand for the new self-service customer portal, MyCuro, which we launch in spring 2019.
- Customers would prefer us to focus on providing flooring in a flat when they first move in - more than redecorations or a shower (where there isn’t one already).
- There is a huge amount of support for the concept of a community van we could use to visit our customers. We also have a raft of ideas for what the van should include.
- We need to do more to help vulnerable customers access deals which make utilities and broadband less expensive.
- Helping customers who are not comfortable with ‘digital’ technology start to use online channels is going to take a patient, tailored approach.
- Our five-year property investment programme is a huge step forward, and customers are looking forward to this being published.
- Our plans for great places – improving the look and feel of shared areas – are spot on: we just need to put in place a programme to deliver these improvements now.
- There are a number of myths and inaccuracies about Curo and social housing which we need to dispel.
- Some customers are very happy using ‘chatbots’ or voice applications like Alexa (Amazon Echo). Some won’t touch them.
- There are services and support we need to look at which specifically helps disabled customers.
- We should do more to help customers understand how to avoid damp and mould.
As a direct result of this feedback we will now:
- Continue with the launch plan for the MyCuro portal, with an extra testing session for customers.
- Agree our plans for a new ‘Void Standard’ for preparing our vacated homes for new tenants to move in (this should be happening in the next month).
- Develop a proposal for a Curo community van.
- Create a full ‘financial and digital inclusion plan’ to support customers who want to access good value online services.
- Publish and explain our five-year investment programme.
- Better explain what we do and address some of the myths surrounding Curo.
- Carry out a feasibility study for chatbots and voice applications like Amazon Echo.
- Talk to Bath & North East Somerset Council about developing additional services for disabled customers.
- Create new materials to help customers prevent damp and mould.
Everyone who came to the Curo Labs was entered into prize draws and we have handed out £200-worth of Love to Shop vouchers, an Echo Dot and a Google Home Hub. Congratulations to all our prize winners.
Feedback provided on the day was hugely positive – here are some of the comments we received:
‘Excellent event – well done Curo’.
‘Lots of very interesting information – well worth the visit’.
‘Excellent interaction – so glad to be updated on Curo developments’.
Thanks to everyone who came along and gave their feedback. We’ll be doing this again, so keep an eye out for updates through our regular customer emails.