Digitising the social housing tenant experience

With increased access to technologies that simply weren’t viable a mere 10 years ago, tenants are now expecting more from their social housing providers. With the world at your fingertips and the ability to manage your finances and utilities at the press of a button, why wouldn’t you expect the same options when it comes to managing your home?

It’s essential that the social housing sector responds to these expectations to keep satisfaction ratings and tenant retentions high. But alongside the portion of tenants demanding an easier way to manage their home is the group that isn’t as digitally enabled. Social housing tenants are at a higher risk of digital exclusion, which in turn prevents them from accessing education, employment and even receiving benefits.

Introducing a digital way for customers to manage their tenancy will benefit both groups; those who expect this service are likely to be more satisfied with their experience, and the excluded group can focus on building up their digital skills. An improved customer service, streamlined operations and changes to the benefits system – particularly the online application for Universal Credit – are driving housing associations to equip their vulnerable tenants with the digital skills necessary to succeed.

Whilst digitising the tenant experience is undoubtedly essential for satisfaction and retention rates, it’s also a way to considerably streamline the way your organisation works. By enabling tenants to manage their rent (and potentially their repairs) online, calls to your customer service centre will be significantly reduced as customers learn to self-serve. This offers an opportunity to cut contact centre costs and, in turn, allows providers to demonstrate an ROI on investments as required by the 2018 Value for Money Standard.

As with all technological advances, this brings challenges as well as opportunities. The ability for customers to manage their own information can dramatically reduce admin costs, but a challenge lies in connecting the essential data in your housing management system with a customer portal.

Your housing management system is integral to your business. It holds essential data on your properties and tenants and is central to your key processes. If it sits in isolation from the rest of your solutions, it can result in siloed working as employees drift between disparate systems. True innovation comes from the integration of your business-critical systems with your newer solutions, like online portals, meaning you can unlock even more value from the system at the heart of your business.

TSG works with a number of housing associations in the UK to implement compliant document management systems and other regulatory solutions, help social housing providers get the most out of their existing technology and deploy intranet and extranet solutions. We’re also working with one social housing customer to join up their customer information via a CRM connection, with the ability to track complex customer journeys and ensure siloed working will become a thing of the past.

Customers looking to digitally manage their home have an online ‘manage my home’ account, where they’re able to view key information about their tenancy including length, renewal, rent payments and information on their finances, with the ability to update personal information.

If the housing provider has an urgent message a customer needs to see, a message record can be created in CRM which will pop up the next time the customer logs in. Similarly, if the tenant has a question or message, they can log it in the website and it’ll create an alert in CRM.

Our housing association customer is working hard to offer this self-serve option to a group of tenants that have specific needs and requirements, with the option to digitally enable tenants that meet certain criteria within CRM. A login and password is generated for the tenant, allowing them access to their online account. These integrated solutions offer more than simply the ability for customers to self-serve; they can track entire processes and serve as sales solutions.

Your housing association might also be a house-builder which sells properties. Through the use of an integrated CRM system, property information and imagery can be fed through your housing management system to a housing sales site, linking up two essential systems.

It’s important to note that these solutions aren’t intended to replace your housing management systems; in fact, we work with a number of HMS providers to ensure our solutions marry up, allowing a seamless experience for you, our valued customers.

We’re really looking forward to talking to you at next week’s Housing Technology conference about how these technologies can not only solve your sector-specific challenges, but also enable new ways of working and allow your housing association to be flexible and agile in response to an ever-changing sector.

Why not pre-book a slot with us to talk through how we can help you overcome the myriad of obstacles you face in the social housing space?

We’re also hosting two smaller, more focused events with our partner Microsoft for housing associations looking to leverage their investments in the Microsoft technology ecosystem.

At these events, you’ll have an opportunity to share your social housing provider’s specific challenges and your current use of technologies like Office 365. You’ll be able to put your questions to Microsoft and TSG experts and get tailored advice that will allow you to get the most out of your technology. Sign up using the links below: