News – 17 October 2023 Grand Union Housing group’s extensive customer research is a double award-winner, taking the winners’ trophies in two categories at the Collaboration Network Awards held in Birmingham recently. Grand Union developed the extensive customer research in order to ensure their services are fit for purpose, both now and in the future. To do this they wanted to truly understand their customers and their different needs. The first, the Re-Invention Award, is given to the organisation or individual who has recognised the need for change and has re-invented or innovated to alter business practice to deliver better outcomes for customers or colleagues, or to better meet regulatory requirements. The second award is the Vulnerability Award. This recognises the organisation that has the best initiative to support customers and/or colleagues with additional needs or vulnerabilities. At the end of 2021 over 2,500 customers participated in a survey designed to help Grand Union to understand what motivates and challenges them. The results from this survey are being used to assess, refine and shape Grand Unions services, helping colleagues to improve customer experience ensuring customer’s diverse needs are met. Naomi Sweeting, Director of Customer Experience at Grand Union said: “We are very proud that our extensive customer research has won two national awards. We are already seeing positive impacts, from this work. The research has enabled us to truly understand our customers’ needs as well as provide evidence and information to help us change our service offer. “Our approach enables us to embed equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I), and vulnerability as a core service design principle, and has attracted interest from other sectors in consideration of wider Consumer Duty requirements. “We have also delivered this important research for five other housing organisations, and are currently delivering for a further four, helping others in the sector to improve customer experience.’ The Collaboration Network is an inclusive and dynamic community of professionals who work together to improve business practices and to raise the level of support for consumers and employees across all sectors. The awards are exclusive to Collaboration Network members and provide an opportunity to share and celebrate the achievements and successes in supporting customers and colleagues and how they are approaching regulatory compliance.