Paul Harris, Curo Group

Paul Harris

Paul Harris

Executive Director Customer Experience

Curo Group

United Kingdom

When Paul joined housing association and house-builders Curo Group three years ago as executive director for CX, the company had just launched its new five-year corporate plan. Charged with enabling the organisation to deliver ‘renowned’ customer service, Paul promptly developed a five-year strategy that empowered teams and individuals to get involved in more than 25 working groups and project teams, each tackling key issues.

These included how to provide more digital choice for customers, how to segment customers, identifying the right system requirements, embedding customer journey mapping and understanding what customer contact model was required.

Paul has subsequently led a series of new programmes and changes to facilitate the strategy, including introducing annual customer workshops (called Curo Labs) to share thoughts and ideas over three days; launching a training programme called CX Academy that encompasses a range of workshops, seminars and teach-ins, focused on six modules: empathy, language, adult-to-adult conversations, identifying needs, taking ownership and listening; creating a leadership programme designed to embed behaviours and culture required to take customer service to the next level; and a new insight model.

The new insight model alone has led to a range of new customer-focused initiatives including a self-service platform to enable repairs booking and rental payments online, the revision of processes to help tenants in arrears and the provision of new services for deaf and disabled customers.

Recognising that there was a disconnect between some of the measures being published, and customer experiences of its services, last year the company introduced a new dashboard - 'Customer Commitment'. This uses 18 metrics to track core customer expectations through their experience in Curo Group homes, from letting to cleaning to repairs, safety inspections, dealing with money problems and anti-social behaviour. This dashboard is reviewed at monthly Operations Excellence meetings chaired by Paul, and this renewed focus on customer expectations has not only seen a huge improvement in the dashboard metrics, but also an associated increase in customer satisfaction. 

Progress on the plans is shared with the rest of the company through quarterly executive briefings and through regular blog post by Paul and other members of the team, and crucially the customer feedback loop is closed through Curo’s quarterly “You Said, We Did” update.

While the five-year strategy is ongoing, the results have been impressive. Customer satisfaction over the last 12 months has been 4% higher than the previous year, while the  number of compliments received has increased by a huge 50%. Furthermore, the proportion of customer commitment KPIs that are on target has increased dramatically over the same period.

I am confident that the customer is at the heart of all team meetings, discussions and plans as a result of our delivery of the CX plan. We see evidence of this in a number of ways - we have a never-ending pipeline of submissions for 'customer compliment of the week', published each Friday on our intranet; our teams are able to make the right decisions on behalf of the customer without escalation; and every day I hear about team members who have gone the extra mile to meet the needs of sometimes very challenging customers.

Return to CX Leader of the Year 2020 finalists>>>

Curo Group