Helping you through COVID-19

Posted: 14th Apr 2020

Responses: 141

In April 2020, we sent a survey to Customer Engagement Community members to ask how well they feel we are managing the coronavirus crisis and what more we can do to support them.

‘Helping you through COVID-19’ has provided meaningful insight to the impact of coronavirus on customers lives and how we can adapt our services, in the short term, to better meet their needs.

download THE SURVEY results HERE


Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in the UK, we have strived to keep customers up-to-date on our services and the measures we’re taking to protect them. To do this, we have made thousands of phone calls and sent thousands of texts. We have also sent emails, posted flyers and extended our Contact Centre hours to 8am – 8pm so we can be available when customers need us most. In addition, we have adopted safe systems of work to enable us to continue delivering key services while maintaining social distancing measures.

However, we recognise that our customers lives have changed significantly since the outbreak of the coronavirus and that we need to work flexibly to support them as best we can.


We carried out an online survey with Customer Engagement Community members. All members were contacted via an email and SMS which contained a link to the survey, and to ensure that as many members answered the survey as possible, reminder messages were sent towards the closing deadline.



Most customers (72.1%) said they have been contacted by Onward since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, and 60.8% of customers said they are satisfied or very satisfied with the information and support Onward has provided during the crisis.


A fifth of customers (20%) are most concerned about mental health, loneliness and isolation as a result of coronavirus while 19% of customers are most worried about the supply of groceries and 18% are most worried about physical health.

17% of customers are most concerned about financial stability, 8% are most concerned about safeguarding and job security, 4% are most worried about home schooling and 1% are most worried about domestic abuse.

For more information, please download our survey findings here.


A number of respondents made recommendations and suggestions about how we can support our customers more during the coronavirus crisis, as follows:

  • 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.
  • Be informative and write to us. There are a lot of disabled over-55s at my scheme and most don’t know how to use emails.
  • Make it clear that there will be no evictions if tenants face financial difficulties caused by the coronavirus crisis. Some tenants might be scared about raising their concerns to Onward.
  • Cut the grass so we can sit on our patio and get outside during isolation.


  • We have ensured that our experienced Income Management Specialists are on hand to provide financial advice and support to customers. They are able to advise on Universal Credit, rent payments and the organisations which can offer help for household bills and groceries. For more information, please get in touch with us on 0300 555 0600 or email
  • We are working hard to identify and contact our most vulnerable customers. We are working with them to provide the help they need. We have also extended our Contact Centre hours so customers can have a friendly chat with us when they need to.
  • We are ensuring that our scheme managers are available to provide support and assistance to customers living in our schemes. They are working hard to check in with all of our customers everyday over the phone. We are also sending information flyers to customers so that those who struggle using the internet can keep up-to-date.
  • We promise we will not evict any customers who have been financially impacted by the coronavirus crisis. Customers who are worried about their finances should get in touch with us on 0300 555 0600 so we can provide support and advice as soon as possible.
  • We are pleased to have restarted our grounds maintenance services, including grass cutting, while using safe systems of work. We know that our green spaces are really important to customers, now more than ever.

In addition to taking these actions, we are continuing to review all of the survey feedback in detail so we can identify other areas and opportunities for improvement.

Watch this space

In order to understand our customers specific needs so we can adapt our services more permanently going forward, we will be launching another survey soon. If you’d like to chat to us about this or provide feedback in advance, get in touch on 0300 555 0600 or email

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