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How can technology help landlords handle complaints better?

For landlords curious about how to respond to tenant complaints, technology can improve the experience. Learn how it can assist your complaints handling. 

Landlord happy about handling complaints better

Housing complaint standards have undergone significant changes over the last few years, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic began. 

While personalisation and digitalisation took off out of necessity, they stuck around due to convenience, and social housing tenants are voicing their expectations for timely handling of requests. 

In addition, the UK’s Housing Ombudsman has recently implemented new complaints standards with guidelines for social housing landlords. 

This change was spurred on by a report which found tenants were making reasonable requests for property repairs, only to have them routinely ignored. 

With the standards in effect as of April 2022, social housing landlords have an increased responsibility to improve service delivery. Many organisations are investigating how to respond to tenant complaints while meeting the terms of the Code. 

Now is the right time for landlords to evaluate their complaints handling processes and find opportunities for improvement. In this article, we’ll discuss how technology can help.

 

How is technology helping landlords address complaints?

According to the experts in our recent Webinar, an estimated 40% of tenant complaints in 2022 are related to repairs and maintenance — that’s up 65% from 2021. 

At the same time, 90% of complaints occur after a tenant has told their landlord they’re unhappy, but the problem goes unaddressed.

So how can technology help your organisation step up its complaints handling? Here are four ways:

 

1. Communicate often

Many complaints are the result of a lack of communication. If you’re trying to create a positive service experience, over-communication should always be favoured.
To make the process easier, you can use a tenant engagement platform like Localz to send automated notifications to stakeholders via emails and texts. 

Examples of technology-enabled communication include:

    • Letting tenants communicate with technicians using two-way chat.
    • Allowing tenants to view their appointment details and cancel or reschedule appointments via a self-service portal. 
    • Keeping tenants updated with upcoming appointment reminders and by allowing them to track arrival times with real-time ETA tracking.
    • Automatically requesting feedback following a service appointment. 

2. Gather timely feedback

Gathering feedback is critical to ensuring tenant satisfaction. Once a service appointment is finished, you should act quickly to collect feedback on how it was handled. 

If you don’t collect feedback and the technician hasn’t solved the issue, the complaint could balloon into a larger problem. On the other hand, collecting instant feedback can help you rapidly resolve issues without putting the tenant back at the end of the queue. 

Using Localz’ configurable triggers, you can gather feedback without having your technicians ask for it in person. Geofencing triggers allow for notifications to be sent automatically once the technician has left the property. This helps landlords capture reliable feedback — good and bad. 

If desired, landlords can also customise tenant satisfaction surveys to gain a deeper understanding of opportunity areas. 

 

3. Provide complete visibility 

Technology lets you make complaints data visible to multiple teams, so tenants can receive a comprehensive and consistent response. 

You don’t want information stuck in the minds of front-line staff or technicians, as it leaves back office staff in the dark. Likewise, make sure feedback and appointment notes aren’t scribbled on paper or kept with an operative until they return. 

Using a digital system with centralised data that updates in real time helps ensure missing information is never the source of tenant dissatisfaction. 

 

4. Check complaint analytics

The new Housing Ombudsman standards stress that landlords must annually self-assess their complaints performance. With the help of technology, this can be a data-driven exercise. 

When you keep your complaints handling data in a central database, you’re able to track and analyse performance. 

Regular reviews of metrics such as complaints received versus closed, overdue cases, escalations required, and service satisfaction can help you improve performance over time. 

 

How can Localz help?

If you’re ready to improve your tenant experience, you don’t need to start from scratch. 

Localz’s customer engagement solution bolts onto your existing tech stack to transform repairs and service appointments. With its automated messaging and real-time tracking features, you can exceed tenant expectations and streamline the service experience.

Download the free checklist for housing tenant communications around repairs and visits

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