02 February 2021
This week, FirstPort was confirmed as a commended finalist in the Accelerator PCA Showcase Awards, Service Excellence During Crisis category.
The awards were created to recognise and celebrate innovation in service quality, employee wellbeing and leadership during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.
With the pandemic meaning our residents are at home more than ever, we have made it our mission to increase our visibility and availability when they have needed us the most. During these unprecedented times, we know going ‘above and beyond’ means more to our residents now than ever before.
We were delighted to learn that our efforts have been recognised, with Henry Hopkins, Director and Co-founder of the awards saying: “It was a very clear story of the huge challenges facing FirstPort across a vast number of properties and residents. There were clear examples of challenges and solutions provided, both organisationally and at a personal level”.
Here, we look back at our response to the pandemic, and pick out some of the examples which the judges recognised as commendable.
Increasing our visibility and availability through digital channels
The pandemic has shown us the really significant role digital plays in improving our customers’ experience. We introduced Webchat in August 2020 to provide our residents with another choice of how to get in touch. In addition, our online residents’ portal (Your Property Online) and dedicated Coronavirus webpage have been much-valued resources, helping us to respond quickly and proactively to changing government guidance, and to update residents in real-time on any changes we needed to make to our management approach.
Supporting our most vulnerable customers
Around a third of the homes in our care are in independent retirement communities. Given the risk that the virus poses for older people, we have been especially focused on the safety and wellbeing of our more vulnerable residents.
We wanted our customers to feel supported through this challenging time, and our Retirement Director wrote to every resident, every week during March-July to provide much-welcomed updates on our management approach and how we were supporting them. This included the partnership we formed with Rosemary Conley CBE to provide at-home exercise videos and recipes for residents.
Weekly entertainment packs were posted under our residents’ doors, which included puzzles, adult colouring sheets and recipes – all designed to keep our residents physically and mentally active and to help them combat loneliness.
Outstanding colleague response
Key to our pandemic response has been the wonderful commitment of our colleagues across the business. We have worked hard to keep them safe, engaged, and focused, providing daily coronavirus updates so that they are well-informed, and access to our mental health first aiders if they needed extra emotional support.
Seeing the efforts our colleagues have made to support their residents has been truly inspiring, and our Trustpilot account has been flooded with praise. Here are just a few comments we’ve received from happy customers: