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Spotlight Series

Bringing Joy to Residents’ Lives Using Technology – Insight from RHP’s CEO

17.02.21 Written by Kitty Hadaway

Digital Ambitions for 2021

In this edition of our Spotlight on Housing series, we spoke to David Done OBE, Chief Executive of the award-winning housing association, RHP. David shares his ambition to bring joy to RHP’s residents’ lives, supported by the best technology.

Please could you give a brief introduction to yourself and RHP?

“We’re just approaching our 21st birthday, and I am proud to say that we are now one of the most successful social enterprises in the UK.

“Whilst we manage about 10,000 homes, we see ourselves primarily as a service provider, supporting the people who live in those homes, rather than as a property landlord.

“Whilst we manage about 10,000 homes, we see ourselves primarily as a service provider”

“We’re also building lots of affordable homes in the local area, and we have exciting plans for the regeneration of a housing estate in our operating area.”

How did the way you use technology to support your residents change in 2020?

“Technology enabled us to cope with the many challenges that resulted from the Covid pandemic.

“The pressures of the pandemic pushed us to challenge the norms”

“Our cloud-based capabilities enabled us to move to remote working quickly and continue working efficiently – including setting up a remote call centre.

“The pressures of the pandemic pushed us to challenge the norms; video technology helped us stay connected as we worked remotely and it also drove us to innovate, such as the introduction of new services to our customers, like virtual viewings.

“In no way do I want to diminish the terrible human tragedy of the pandemic, but in many ways, it helped to foster positive change, and we are determined to hang on to these changes.”

On that note, what technology is set to become part of the new normal?

“Our objective is to use the coming year to build on what we’ve learned through the pandemic and how best to deploy technology to enhance resident experience.  

“We know that we can’t stand still; for example, we are cognisant that we need to replace many of the legacy systems we put in place some years ago now in order to provide the quality of customer experience people now expect.

“The pandemic highlighted the importance of giving people access to digital support and online services”

“Our priority is to replace our asset management system to streamline and make sense of the data we hold on our properties and also respond to the building safety bill. 

“We are also working on re-platforming our website to improve the suite of repair services we offer our residents. Our customers will be able to control their repairs, track them and make changes online.”

Do you think people’s mindset towards technology changed as a result of the pressures of the pandemic?

“Absolutely, people’s mindsets changed last year, but I think this was changing pre-pandemic too.

“Customers want choice and convenience. They don’t want to spend time waiting on hold; they want to do things online and quickly.

“The pandemic highlighted the importance of giving people access to digital support and online services – I’ve always felt that housing is no different to other sectors on this front.”

And is the white paper going to influence the year ahead for you?

“What’s interesting about the white paper is the emphasis on really listening to customers and making sure we turn those learnings into operational action.

“Ultimately, investments in, and the creative use of technology will be crucial to interpreting the white paper.”

“We’ll use a mixture of traditional online forums, internet-based tools and external independent websites like Trustpilot to hear the voice of the customer and to measure our success. 

“We plan to use the feedback we collect to help us improve our service and systems, and make sure that we’re putting our customers’ needs at the forefront of everything we do.

“We will continue to invest in the best technology we can afford, to make it as simple, easy and convenient as possible for customers to access all of our day-to-day services.

“Ultimately, investments in, and the creative use of technology will be crucial to interpreting the white paper.”

How do you think your residents will feel these changes?

“I want people to move into their RHP property and feel proud of their home; to enjoy where they’re living. 

“Most people don’t need an awful lot from us, but when they do, I’d like them to be able to go online and do things easily and quickly, and to be able to speak to someone when they need to.

“I want us to be an invisible service to most customers, but there when they need us.”

“The trick behind all this is to streamline our day-to-day activities but crucially ensure they’re user friendly by design too.

“Ultimately, this will free up more of our time and resources, to help customers who need more significant support.  

“In many ways, I want us to be an invisible service to most customers, but there when they need us.”

  • Published 17.02.21
  • By Kitty Hadaway
  • In Spotlight Series
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