Much has been written (and continues to be) about omnichannel customer services and digital transformation. High expectations have been raised around what digital transformation will deliver to an organisation in terms of improved efficiency and customer service.

This is often linked to the purchase of a new IT platform or the creation of an all-encompassing database. The proposed solution, which originated in the retail market, is a 360 degree view of tenants across all channels.

This is usually based on an enterprise customer relationship management (CRM) system, but while this is a key foundation, there is much more to it than just building a platform or database.

There are nuances around the design and use of a CRM system that need to be taken into consideration. Too often a CRM system is designed as more of a ticketing or customer service management solution, rather than a true CRM system that is integrated with multiple service delivery channels.

Having a true CRM system at the centre which takes data from the web, mobile apps and business systems, such as housing, finance or repairs and maintenance, is a better approach. In our experience within the housing sector, creating a repairs and maintenance system in a CRM application and then trying to use the same system as a true CRM system just doesn’t work as well.

Creating an omnichannel platform can give a housing provider a comprehensive view of its tenants across multiple touchpoints. However, really achieving a full 360 degree view needs the organisation to fully commit to customer service across all teams and interactions.

If the different teams are not all fully committed to capturing, analysing and responding to the multiple tenant interactions, then data is only captured but not ‘brought to life’ to improve efficiency and service levels.

Being accurate and timely will help both office and mobile staff as well as tenants. This requires data sharing and interaction across and between teams, so that the relationships with tenants become broader and deeper.

It is only by recording, sharing and acting on current and correct data that tenants will really experience a professional service organisation. This can be supplemented by data from other sources such as IoT based sensors (eg from lifts, thermometers, boilers and smart meters) and external data, such as credit referencing.

It is even possible to add data from ‘wearable tech’ (eg for health conditions and locations) with the appropriate controls and agreements. To achieve this, there needs to be a shared vision and purpose across the teams, because differing levels of commitment from different teams will lead to gaps in the use of data, thus varying levels of customer experience.

Teams such as lettings, finance, maintenance and contact centre will all benefit from keeping customer information up to date. It will also support improvements in delivering compliance, because records will be more accurate and more reliable.

In other markets such as retail, this degree of information sharing and collaboration is easier to achieve, because the teams’ incentives can be closely aligned to easily-measured metrics such as sales revenues, while other sectors such as technology and finance are using customer satisfaction as a measure of service delivery rather than a purely sales or revenue-driven approach.

In short, there are many applicable tools available for measuring satisfaction following a customer interaction that we have all experienced from different providers beyond the housing sector.

Read part-two, ‘Using predictive analytics to improve customer service and business processes’.