We are providing homes to approximately 49,500 people who we take care of every day, together with our cooperation network. To understand the needs of our customers, we analyse trends and what our customers value in order to develop our services and to expand our service range accordingly.
The significance of homes to people's quality of life and to society at large requires sustainable and reliable operations. We openly communicate our operating principles. We are a long-term lessor that invests in housing development. Our Code of Conduct defines the actions of our company and our personnel. When it comes to the rental relationship, we follow good rental practices and respect the privacy of our customers.
We use personal data and information about payment behaviour covered by privacy protection in our customer accounts, and therefore, we take extra care in handling all information. We have appointed individuals who handle customer data in accordance with the purpose of use indicated beforehand. Furthermore, we have internal guidelines on data privacy.
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We promote interaction and impact between SATO and its tenants in a systematic way. We communicate openly and speak boldly, also about difficult matters, in order to improve the customer experience. In addition to our general interaction channels, we hold customer meetings in each building, but also regionally and nationally. One active resident is recognised as the Customer of the Year. In 2016, this recognition went to a long-term customer from Tampere.
In the resident forum, which meets regularly several times a year, we are planning communication practices and service improvements together with our residents. In spring 2017, launched a resident panel, SATO Pulssi, consisting of our residents in order to create and test new development ideas. We also actively collect feedback through customer satisfaction surveys, and use their results to improve our operations.
Our aim is to develop operating models, with which we can help customers who are facing a new situation to find a home in their new environment and feel part of their new community. In addition, to help our residents facing temporary difficulties, we have recruited a customer service employee who focuses on these types of situations.
Traditionally, the role of the owner has been limited to offering the apartment and providing maintenance-related services. SATO has decided to revolutionise this tradition and provide its customers with housing which includes more than these. For this, we need varied cooperation with suppliers of products and services.
We select suppliers that are able to produce value and good customer experiences to our customers. We make sure that each supplier has a sufficient capacity and capability to achieve quality and schedule goals, with the right kind of service attitude. Sustainable operating methods in terms of the working environment, safety and the environment are key factors. To prevent the grey economy, we only accept companies registered in the tilaajavastuu.fi (reliable partner) service as our service providers.
In autumn 2016, we started to audit our contractual suppliers to comprehensively evaluate their processes and current state. On the basis of these audits, we prepare score cards for suppliers, including a description of the current state and any proposals for improvements. During the reporting year, we audited 50 suppliers, and we will increase this figure in 2017.
The purpose of property maintenance services, such as building management, maintenance and cleaning, is to build and maintain comfort in our buildings and properties. SATO has ordered these tasks from specialised service providers, and property maintenance has been assigned to many different providers.
Because the building manager has a significant impact on this experience, we have shifted the majority of building management activities to our personnel during spring 2017.
We will audit the quality of apartment repairs using spot checks. The repairs to be audited have been ordered from SATO's contractual contractors. We will prepare six-month summary reports on all spot checks, and their results will have an impact on fees paid to contractors.