Age is just a number!

Margaret Ball is a Customer Liaison Officer at Osborne and she tells us that age really is just a number!“Older customers tend to be reassured by my age, and it seems to have a calming effect on younger customers too – they seem to trust me.
At 69 years old, I’m Osborne’s oldest Customer Liaison Officer. For me, age really is just a number: I like work and I like meeting new people. I plan to carry on for as long as I can. I’ve been at Osborne for three and a half years, but I’ve worked in construction in similar roles for 20 years. Before that, I worked in the community in care homes, nursing homes and hospitals.

My role covers the whole of Walthamstow and involves working with customers whose homes are being improved though Osborne’s planned maintenance services contract with the London Borough of Waltham Forest.

However, when we’re doing a programme of work, I’m based on-site. It’s me who gathers all of the information about the council’s residents in a building or area, and I contact them to let them know what’s going to be done to their homes: it could be a number of things, such as their kitchen or bathroom refurbishment, window install or a new door or roof.

I visit each home, with our Site Manager, so that we can introduce ourselves and book appointments for our operatives to go into homes. I also work with customers ahead of a job starting, choosing the colour they want for their new kitchen or bathroom, for example.

Most of the time, customers are pleased that improvements are being made to their homes. Experience has taught me a lot about people, and I’m good at judging how to approach customers, who come from all walks of life.

To be a Customer Liaison Officer, you need to be organised, proactive and self-motivated. You also need to be a team player because there’re so many people involved in any one job. You also need to have compassion and empathy for customers. That’s why I like being based on-site – usually I visit residents who are having work done every day, that way I can respond quickly if something comes up and get it sorted out.

I’ve always seen jobs through from start to finish. You’ve got to follow things through in this role. You have to keep the communication going. When I’m not able to make a decision myself – for example, if I need to go away and talk to our responsive repairs team – I’ll remember to keep the customer informed of my progress.
The most important thing I’ve learned through all of my experience is that communication is crucial. And I’m very proud to say that during the whole time I’ve been in this job, good communication has meant that I haven’t received a single complaint.”