"I wanted to make a difference..." Why Gemma picked housing
This afternoon our National Careers Week blog comes from Gemma Packham, who's a customer service advisor for Honeycomb Group. For Gemma, it's all about customer service and the value of customer experience
My ambition to support others started long before my career with Honeycomb Group. The common question of “What do you want to do with your life?” was echoed at me even when I wasn’t sure what I wanted to be or where I wanted to go. I was aware of one thing though and that was I wanted to feel like I was making a difference…
Fast forward five years and after some volunteering experience and hours of studying a degree later, I am firmly begun in my housing career. Last year I started at Honeycomb Group, fresh out of university as a mature apprentice alongside the customer service team. Here I have discovered how big the housing sector is and how many departments sit under the umbrella of housing - but also a realisation of how many different career prospects there are in housing.
My role within the customer service team so far has been amazing. Everyday is different from offering front line support to completing applications or logging repairs, customers are at the heart of what we do in providing affordable housing and bettering lives. I am surrounded by some many great colleagues who are more than happy to give me advice and support, alongside this I have been given so many different opportunities to develop myself professionally and have gained so much confidence from the support of my team. This includes encouraging me to study a Chartered Institute of Housing qualification in Housing Practice which is helping me to identify my strengths but also allows me to gain a deeper understanding of housing theory to assist my daily role.
During my time at Honeycomb Group, I have witnessed several exciting changes; this included the creation of a new house of brands for the organisation from Staffordshire Housing Group to Honeycomb Group highlighting empathise on a new collective set of values and the introduction of a new customer experience development programme. The aim of the programme is to develop a culture that customer experience underpins the organisation’s brand values through staff members addressing the emotion of a customer and promoting soft skills throughout their customer experiences. This has been an amazing process to be part of and has developed my empathetic approach when interacting with customers by establishing a rapport from that initial contact and making each customer experience truly valuable.
I chose a career in housing as I wanted to make a real impact and I think as a customer service advisor I do that. I enjoy working in a fast paced environment where no day is the same as the next. One of the things I love about my job is knowing that I am supporting individuals to sustain their tenancies and how we as customer service advisors ensure that all customers’ needs are met and they are happy in their homes. Until I started my career in the housing sector I didn’t realise how important a home is and how vital the work of everyone in a housing organisation is. I am truly proud of be a housing professional and cannot wait to see what the future brings.