Home has never been more important as tenants endure health worries, financial uncertainty and social distancing. This was the backdrop for last week’s Inside Housing CX2020 conference - of which Localz was a proud sponsor.
During the online event, housing associations, tenant organisations and out-of-sector leaders came together to share insights on the biggest trends shaping customer experience. Along the way, delegates learned how Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) are embracing digital transformation and learning from tenant voice.
If you weren’t able to make it, or just need a recap, here’s a rundown of the day’s biggest themes.
Voice of the Customer generally refers to the needs, expectations, and preferences of an organisation’s customers. As such, harnessing customer voice is key to building a satisfactory customer experience.
Several speakers noted that the social housing sector has been slow to look for, and act on, customer voice. Since tenants normally don’t choose their housing provider, there has been little incentive to innovate. Customer experience benchmarks have been drawn from fellow housing associations, rather than reflecting consumers’ expectations.
But things are changing. Housing providers are increasingly taking a proactive approach to getting to know their tenants.
Alliance Homes is one example. We heard how the organisation is using advanced segmentation methods to identify tenant needs, and tailor services accordingly.
By putting tenant voice at the heart of customer experience, landlords can move away from a reactive approach. Housing providers can be proactive - or even predictive - in meeting the needs and expectations of residents.
In recent years, we’ve seen housing associations recognise that customer expectations are shifting - and that the sector needs to change to catch up.
As several speakers noted, today’s resident doesn’t benchmark RSLs against one another. Rather, they expect landlords to deliver the same level of service they receive from Amazon or their bank.
Customers want and expect easy access to information: anything less leads to frustration and anxiety. And the global health crisis has only accelerated this change.
Many attendees acknowledged that the pandemic had significantly sped up their digital transformation.
In part, this is down to increased uptake of digital services during lockdown, which helped to bust the myth that housing tenants “don’t do digital.” This has empowered CX teams to increase digital engagement, freeing up non-digital channels for customers who prefer to communicate offline.
In addition, some have found that the shift to remote work has encouraged more proactive internal communication. Initiatives that previously would have taken months to launch are now deployed in a matter of weeks.
As the health crisis unfolds, communication with tenants is critical, according to Housing Ombudsman Richard Blakeway. With complaints on the rise, landlords need to make themselves accessible, and demonstrate learning when things have gone wrong.
On a more granular level, we heard how landlords are collecting customer feedback for individual repair and maintenance appointments.
In a survey of delegates, almost half (47 per cent) said that they don’t request feedback on the day of the appointment.
This means that response rates are low and, as time passes, negative experiences are more likely to be recalled. What’s more, delayed feedback is largely unactionable on a case-by-case basis. The visit happened days or weeks ago, and comments are seldom linked directly to a job ID or specific colleague.
With this in mind, Localz’ Paul Swannell outlined the benefits of real-time feedback for housing appointments:
1. Real-time feedback can be acted on in the case of problems
2. Asking for feedback after every appointment paints a balanced picture
3. Automating the feedback process reduces the need for outbound calls
In short, by asking the right questions at the right time, landlords can collect actionable feedback that contributes to long-term satisfaction.
Appointment-based feedback boosts tenants’ overall satisfaction, as well as reducing operational costs. By asking the right questions at the right time, landlords can collect actionable feedback that contributes to long- and short-term goals.
Download the tenant communication checklist to find out how real-time feedback fits into your day-of-service communication journey...