IN May 2002, Southern Housing Group’s Customer Service Centre in Horsham opened its lines for the first time.
In May 2012, the Service Centre will not only celebrate its tenth birthday but will also receive its two millionth caller.
Over the last ten years, the Group’s Service Centre has become an integral part of the business and is the first point of call for resident queries with staff providing advice on rent, maintenance, benefits and a range of other support services across the Group’s 26,000 homes.
While being a key part of the Group’s business, the Service Centre has also become a major employer of people in the Horsham area, having employed 200 local people in the last ten years.
Horsham resident and Customer Service Centre Manager since day one, Mark Rogers, says the success of the Service Centre as a key arm of the Group’s business is down to professional, adaptable and knowledgeable staff.
“Our residents really see us as the front line when it comes to their queries and for that reason we look for staff who are able to work under pressure and who are naturally helpful and empathetic,” he said.
“We have seen many people from the local area pass through our doors in the last ten years, a number of whom have remained at the Group, going on to other roles.
“I’m proud that we’ve been able to employ so many people from around Horsham and Sussex, some of whom are starting out in their careers, and give them the opportunity to learn skills that will serve them in this role and in the future.”
Elle Boyle, also from Horsham, is one of the newer members of the team, having joined the Resident Services Team 18 months ago. She says that the experience of working at the Group has been interesting and fulfilling and has allowed her to develop skills that will serve her for her entire career.
“The best thing about working in the Service Centre is that no two days or two phone calls are ever the same. I’ve learnt the importance of starting each day and each query with a fresh set of eyes and ears,” she said.
“There isn’t anything more personal than someone’s home, where they live and raise their family, so I try to offer the most specific advice possible for each query.
“Working here has inspired me to apply for an Urban Regeneration course at university. I want to continue working at the Group and working with residents face to face, developing sustainable communities.”
Staff at the Service Centre will be marking the ten year anniversary throughout May, looking back at some of the key milestones and achievements of the last ten years.