Our Salesforce Business Development Manager Chris Berry ponders how a new approach to landlord and tenant engagement can be completely transformed by embracing digital technology.
At the sharp end of the social housing sector, many providers have struggled to keep up with technology and to arrive at a ‘consumerised’ solution to meet their digital transformation needs.
The reality is that most tenants won’t engage with their landlords via digital channels until there is a seamless connection between the interfaces they use on sites like Instagram and Facebook to the portals their housing providers use, it’s simply a matter of how people want to engage with their providers.
Data is the key to increased engagement and satisfaction
Consider for a moment the numerous silos of data these housing providers have. Data stored across different systems such as housing management and asset management, repairs portals and payment solutions. This gradual proliferation of data is down to a lack of foresight. New systems have been purchased, often by different departments, to deliver a specific task, and often in light of cost savings and resource rationalisation, and these systems have not been integrated effectively, or indeed at all with their other solutions.
The overall impact - delays in finding the right data, which is then only obtained after a lot of manual effort, this means the housing provider cannot obtain useful management information that can then help them to understand and support their residents. The result – a reactive service that in turn costs more and delivers less.
Whilst digital transformation is often cited as the golden bullet that will lead to reduced costs, better business outputs and ultimately increased customer satisfaction, the key to technological change within social housing organisations is a focus towards customer experience, the use of data, and mobile working. By simply rethinking digital engagement, technology can become an enabler for real business change.
One view of the resident
If we think about ‘consumerised’ markets such as retail, the digital journey is well mapped out. Right from when we simply search for an item but don’t purchase, our intent, interest and desire is captured by the retailer, as we move on to purchase, return goods, repurchase and search again. All this data is being captured to provide us with a better, more targeted and personalised service.
The power of our interaction is realised when the retailer can join up all parts of our digital journey and gain a 360-degree view of our buying habits and behaviours. However, when data is held across various siloed systems it’s impossible to gain one version of the ‘truth’. Given the ability to track everything from rental payments, rent arrears, and calls to the customer service teams, to detailed reports on property repairs, all from one system, housing providers can themselves personalise and adapt their service to tenants, the organisation itself gains that all-powerful insight to allow them to make better and often more cost-effective decisions in a more efficient manner.
Deal with queries on the move
Making this consolidated data and insight available to housing officers who are constantly on the move then starts to positively reshape the tenant relationship. Residents want a one-stop query resolution and, by providing all the data in one place on one mobile device, housing officers are empowered to resolve queries on-the-go.
Of course putting mobility at the core of the digital transformation programme brings significant benefits back to the organisation, no longer are housing officers having to return to the office at the end of the day to file all the paperwork they have completed whilst visiting tenants, this is often the difference of a further two or three tenant visits a day, and calls in to the customer contact centre are reduced, leaving the teams free to spend longer supporting the urgent queries.
These are just some examples of how digital engagement technology can transform tenant relationships. At Capita we are rethinking innovation and, together with Salesforce and Mulesoft, we are partnering with social housing providers to deliver a solution which, using API's, will integrate all the data they hold in different systems to present one view, one truth and to ultimately bridge the digital divide.
If you would like discuss how we can help you embrace digital transformation, connect with Chris via his LinkedIn profile or get in touch with us using our ‘contact us’ web form.