The purpose of the study is to increase knowledge of how to provide service in municipal housing companies in Sweden, and of various organisational models for the customer-centric organisation. The principal issue of the study is how housing companies can organise their resources in order to create an efficient and customer-centric organisation. The term customer-centric organisation comprises customer service, letting, and local administration. Customer service is often designated as the housing company’s fault reporting service and includes, for instance, the reporting of faults in dwellings, noise problems, complaints etc. Letting incorporates processes connected with estate agency, marketing, taking possession and vacating, internal exchanges, housing strategies, options, and tenant selection. Local administration incorporates processes connected with day-to-day operational administration, i.e. the provision of service with regard to remedying faults and making repairs.
The study’s theoretical points of departure have their basis in research into public housing and the field of service management. The empirical supportive data used in the study is a two-year case study of rganisational changes at Malmö municipal housing company, MKB Fastighets AB (MKB), and a supplementary interview study at four other municipal housing companies. The case study was conducted with the help of observations gleaned from MKB’s internal evaluation group, interviews with management and frontline staff, and a questionnaire survey of frontline staff in MKB’s customer-centric organisation. The supplementary study included interviews with both frontline staff and management.
MKB’s organisational change can be divided up into two different phases: the test organisation and the team organisation. The departure point of both organisations was area-based customer service, letting, and local administration. The test organisation entailed MKB creating one single function to manage all these activities. Due to higher administration costs, less visible local administration, and recruitment problems, the test organisation was abandoned. In its place, the team organisation was created, which in many respects consisted of the same concept, but differed in that the area-based customer service, letting, and local administration were shared between several people in a joint local work-team. MKB’s new ways of organising its customer-centric organisation are defined in the study as a holistic model, entailing that all contact with customers was self-managed from a local area office. The results show that the team organisation cultivates a proximity to the customers, also improving customer responsibility and collaboration between frontline staff.
It can also be pointed out that the customer-centric organisation needs to be developed further. Among other things, the expertise of frontline staff can be further adapted in order to meet customer requirements. At the same time, it is of great importance to the outcome of the organisational change that the organisation’s overarching parts are coordinated in a manner facilitating the work of frontline staff in the provision of service. The same will apply if the housing company uses contractors in, for instance, property maintenance, grounds management, and heating, ventilation and sanitation installations. If the housing company’s aim is to become customer-oriented, then joint resources will have to be concentrated on the customer process and this process will have to take centre stage in the company’s strategic management decisions.
Stockholm: Universitetsservice US-AB , 2006. , 178 p.