Behind the Scenes at Octagon with Laura Armstrong

08/07/2015

This month’s interview from behind the scenes at Octagon  is with Laura Armstrong, Customer Care Liaison.

Why did you join Octagon?

I have always enjoyed working with people. Having been employed in a variety of industries, including interior design and hospitality, all of my roles were customer focused. It was while I was working as concierge for Coach House Mews, a courtyard retirement community built by Octagon in Whiteley Village near Walton on Thames, that the customer liaison position arose. I just had to go for it – the job description was a perfect fit for me.

What does your job involve?

It all starts just before the buyers move in to any new Octagon home. I visit the property and check that everything is in order, noting and organising for any imperfections to be ironed out (although in true Octagon style, homes are normally pretty faultless). I then meet and welcome the new owners along with the surveyor or site manager, and show them how to use everything in their home. It is important for me to establish a strong relationship with the owners so wherever possible I make contact with them 1 or 2 days after they have moved in, to check that the property meets with their expectations. We try to make the moving process as smooth and painless for our clients as possible. Some of them have not moved house in 20 or 30 years, so they need to familiarise themselves with new appliances and systems. I encourage them to use everything and help them feel comfortable operating and controlling what at times is some pretty sophisticated equipment! They are given a contact book, where all the appliance and system suppliers are listed, but Octagon believe all their home owners deserve fast and personal service, and it’s reassuring to know that they are able to call someone who knows, not only them, but also, all the features of their home.

I am often a source of local knowledge for buyers as a longstanding Surrey resident; one Canadian purchaser at Wootton Place, our Esher development, asked if I could recommend any local dog walkers, and naturally I obliged; I also regularly advise customers where to find the best schools and restaurants in the area.

What are the best and worst aspects of your job?

The best thing for me is being able to constantly work with people, whether an Octagon new home owner, my colleagues at Head Office, or the very knowledgeable site teams. Every day brings a new challenge, a new face and, often, a new home, which makes the work really exciting, and I rarely sit at a desk. Although my role is customer care, I also lend a hand to dressing show houses before they are opened for viewing, so I do get involved in a wide range of activities for the company.

The worst part has to be sitting in traffic, as I do a lot of travelling, but you can’t have everything!

Thoughts on the future…

I hope my role at Octagon is valued, and I can continue to help develop and improve the customer care aspect of the business. This company is passionate about standards, therefore never complacent about their quality and service levels. I truly believe in their ethos, and am proud to be part of such a dynamic organisation.

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