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CDS Portal

CDS Co-operatives commissioned Maldaba to design, develop and launch Service Desk, a customer service portal.

The challenge for CDS

CDS are a housing management organisation, supporting housing associations, co-operatives and tenants to live happily in safe accommodation.

CDS knew they needed to improve their customer relations, and engaged Maldaba to help them think through “the art of the possible”. We facilitated an internal discussion with managers that identified a core need to improve the way the organisation communicated with customers, and the requirement for a customer service portal was developed.

In true agile development style we split the project into a series of development cycles, each one prefaced with an in-depth workshop to help us get into the detail of their requirements (and give them more than a couple of pauses for thought!)

We captured requirements in the form of Behat tests that are then fed into our continuous integration server as part of our automated testing and quality assurance procedures. This was an invaluable reference as requirements changed during the development process, and provided us with a touchstone that is easily understood by client, project manager, designer and, developer and tester alike. In fact, we’re so committed to this process, we’ve integrated Behat into our application framework (MAF), making it available across all our MAF-based projects (this was the 2nd project we used it on).

The Customer Service Desk logs all enquiries (external and later developed to accommodate internal enquiries too), as well as synchronising with CDS’s housing management software, so that data is only changed in one place and flows appropriately. As new enquiries come in, staff are able to quickly see the history of enquiries for the property, and the individual, flagging concerns and raising vulnerabilities that they need to be aware of when engaging with the customer.

The dashboard lets team managers easily see how staff are responding to enquiries, and to support them in unblocking queries as efficiently as possible.

Another lovely feature of this project is that we re-used our generic MAF-based reporting module. As this feature matures it’s amazing to see how quickly we can deploy and configure it, giving us a flexible and extremely powerful reporting feature in any MAF-based project. The module uses jqPlot, also integrated into MAF for ease of deployment across our projects.

We have worked with Maldaba to develop a vision for our technology that matches our strategic goals and ambitions – as well as our budget. The team at Maldaba have worked really hard to understand what we want to achieve – in business terms – through lots of discussion and evolution of ideas. This process involved some good challenge and certainly helped us to clarify our thinking around how IT fitted into our plans. Once this was clearly understood, they have used their technology expertise and creativity to deliver a solution for us that is cost efficient and works well for our employees. We are excited by the benefits that the most recent project will bring to CDS and keen to keep evolving our partnership with Maldaba.

Linda Wallace, CDS CEO

Following our training, CDS launched the Service Desk for all staff at the end of May. It’s now a crucial part of CDS’s daily activities.

Get in touch with us to find out for yourself how we can help your organisation improve your customer service offer.