Fictional soap opera forms the basis of a customer service training resource

To accompany their ongoing customer service programme, ‘Let’s Make A Difference’, Nottingham City Homes (NCH) wanted a resource that would form the basis of a half-day training session that could be rolled out across the whole organisation.

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The Challenge

The overall aim of the project was to inspire NCH staff to create a new cultural identity for the organisation, and boost performance. NCH had already employed workshops, theatre-based events and other training events as part of the programme and were looking to continue with their good work.

Our Solution

Juice’s Creative Director, Mark Knight, decided that the best approach was to create a soap opera based on the fictional street of ‘Sherwood Grove’. This allowed for the representation of housing association employees and tenants, but in a format that would be widely recognized by its audience. It also allowed the learning objectives of the training to be covered through the interactions of the characters, but it also permitted some leeway in re-creating storylines that were typical to the genre, thus making it more engaging and entertaining.

The filming schedule took place over four days in Nottingham to create over thirty minutes of final content. The post-production also included the creation of graphics-based title sequence that introduces the audience to the key characters.

Results

The ‘Let’s Make A Difference’ initiative won a National Training Award in the Partnership and Collaboration category in 2009.

Since the introduction of the programme positive feedback from NCH customers has increased and managers have reported that team performance and participation continues to improve.

Further evidence of the continued progression came in the form of the 2008/09 Audit Commission inspection report, which saw NCH being awarded a ‘two star’ good rating, showing “excellent prospects for improvement”. This superb achievement enabled NCH to access more than £200 million of funding to invest in improving thousands of council homes across the city.
But it was this year’s customer satisfaction (STATUS) survey that was probably the most telling recognition for NCH’s performance and service delivery. Overall customer satisfaction increased dramatically for the second year running to 80% (compared to 69% in 2008 and 60% in 2007).

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