Ifrah – Commitment to Communities

As well as having strong organisational and communication skills, many of our administrators demonstrate their own initiative and competence in the business.  Ifrah, an Auriga First Administration Assistant, recently demonstrated her drive to deliver excellent customer support by engaging with a hard-to-reach community.

All calls for support from the Thames Water Customer Assistance Fund (CAF) come through the Auriga First team.  Ifrah said “As I have a good telephone manner, I was asked to be a first point of contact for customers. Having demonstrated I was capable of handling conversations with vulnerable customers effectively and processing accurate information, I began helping people complete their applications for assistance”. 

In December 2019 Ifrah started helping a Somali customer in London fill out a form for assistance from Thames Water. Unfortunately, the customer was struggling to provide proof of income – and prior to getting support from Ifrah – her application for help had been declined twice, due to lack of necessary information.  Ifrah quickly identified that the customer needed specialist support from a local Somali Community Centre. After researching the closest centre to the customer, she made a referral for them and the customer visited the centre, where she got help with providing and sending Auriga proof of income. Once this proof was in place, the application for assistance was assessed and the customer was successfully awarded Thames Water CAF funding toward her water arrears.

Ifrah discussed how she’d helped the customer with her manager who was delighted with the results of Ifrah’s work. She recognised that Ifrah’s language skills and ability to reach out to the Somali community was an opportunity to improve accessibility to assistance in other locations and for other clients.

To help more people, Ifrah offered to share her expertise on the Arabic language and Somali communities with:

(i)      The United Utilities Trust Fund – spreading the scope of its services and engagement in the North West. In February 2020 she created a database of information on Somali Community Centres.  This enabled her to reach out to 10 Centres – briefing them on the Trust Fund support, making calls, sending emails and packages with leaflets to increase awareness, engagement and build links.

(ii)     RECITE software, a translation tool Auriga offer when making applications in different languages. Recently Ifrah has been checking their Arabic translations for accuracy and uncovered many issues native Arabic speakers would be affected by. As a result, she worked with RECITE to make improvements to fix issues with text.

Ifrah’s insight into the Arabic language and Somali communities is a real opportunity to help us tackle financial exclusion. She has shown fantastic commitment and built useful connections.  Based on her work we have improved the customer journey for Arabic customers at risk of financial exclusion.”

Mark Abrams, Auriga Chief Executive