Customer Engagement Week: The Engagement Community

At Onward we want to make sure our customers’ voice is at the heart of everything we do.

Your views are important to us, and the feedback you provide helps us focus on the things that matter most. Now, more than ever before, it is essential that customer engagement remains a priority and we will continue to embrace new ways of working so we can keep you engaged no matter what.

How do we engage?

In a series of blogs throughout this week, we look at the various ways we engage with customers and how they influence change at Onward.

We aim to provide a diverse range of opportunities for customers so we can cater to everyone.

The Customer Engagement Community (CEC)

In the first of our blog series, we look at the great work done by the Customer Engagement Community – a group of tenant volunteers who regularly take part in surveys, feedback and other activities.

We currently have over 2,000 customers involved across all of our neighbourhoods. Members of the community take part in as many or as few activities as they like. There is no pressure and no obligation.

Members have exclusive access to training opportunities which help improve employability, support professional development, and encourage learning. More than that, members are entered into a monthly prize draw to win £50 of high street vouchers!

To join, enter your details here or email us at If you’d rather talk to someone, call us on 0300 555 0600.

How has the CEC influenced change?

Since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, the CEC has been crucial in helping us adapt and respond to customers needs.

Through a large survey of CEC members, we discovered that 20% of customers were most concerned about mental health, loneliness and isolation as a result of coronavirus while 19% of customers were most worried about the supply of groceries and 18% were most worried about physical health.

17% of customers were most concerned about financial stability and 8% were most concerned about safeguarding and job security.

Thanks to these customers, we were able to record some great suggestions for adapting our services, including:

  • Assist customers in accessing financial support, benefits and food banks
  • Ask vulnerable tenants if they need help with groceries or need a chat so they don’t feel isolated
  • Make it clear that there will be no evictions if tenants face financial difficulties caused by the coronavirus crisis
  • Cut the grass so customers can get outside

We used the suggestions to make several changes so we could help customers more. In particular:

  • We ensured that our Income Management Specialists were on hand to provide financial advice and support to customers, including advice on Universal Credit, rent payments and the organisations which can offer help for household bills and groceries
  • We identified and contacted our most vulnerable customers, and extended our Contact Centre hours so customers could have a friendly chat with us when they needed to
  • We ensured that scheme managers were available everyday over the phone to provide support and assistance to customers living in our schemes
  • We promised not to evict any customers who had been financially impacted by the coronavirus crisis
  • We restarted our grounds maintenance services as soon as it was safe to do so

For information on the ways we engage with customers, contact or call us on 0300 555 0600.

Stay tuned throughout Customer Engagement Week to discover more about our engagement opportunities and how we use feedback to make change.

join THE customer engagement community