Digital Ambitions for 2021
In this edition of our Spotlight on Housing series, we spoke to the enigmatic John McLean – Chief Executive at Radius. John shares his insight into Radius’s digital transformation strategy and how embracing new digital tools will revolutionise resident experience.
Please could you give a brief introduction to yourself and Radius?
“I’ve been a Chief Executive of Radius since 2017 when Fold and Helm merged. Before that, I was the Chief Exec at Fold. In total, I’ve spent the past 16 years as Chief Exec!
“At Radius, we are a team of 1,000 members of staff, all laser-focused on supporting our residents. In total, we manage 13,000 units and have a turnover of around £90 million.”
How will residents feel the impact of digital transformation within the business this year?
“Our digital transformation strategy spans across all parts of our business and at the heart of this will be a new CRM system, which will ensure that staff have all relevant client and resident information at their fingertips.
“Our cloud-native CRM will form the backbone of our new customer contact centre, which has been rearchitected around the goal to answer 80% of residents’ enquiries at the first point of contact.
“Our cloud-native CRM will form the backbone of our new customer contact centre”
“Digital self-serve is also high on the agenda. We started using nudge-theory some years ago and have plans to harness this approach more as we encourage greater channel shift. Digital inclusion is a massive issue, and its essential we don’t leave any customer segments behind.”
What technology trialled during the pandemic is set to become part of your new normal?
“Before the pandemic, our strategic plan already included a series of trials and pilot schemes to introduce a modern and flexible working model.
“Our ICT teams stood tall, and if there was one saving grace, it was digital connectivity.”
“Then the pandemic struck, bringing disruption, uncertainty and great personal loss. Our ICT teams stood tall, and if there was one saving grace, it was digital connectivity. Almost overnight, we changed our business and customer paradigm.
“We have customers engaging with us from far-flung places who previously were deemed off the grid.”
“Our frontline operatives, for instance, are now all equipped with iPads, enabling them to write up reports in-situ. They’re able to spend less time in the office and more time out in the community – something we want to maintain and grow this year. We have customers engaging with us from far-flung places who previously were deemed off the grid.”
What else is high on your agenda for you for 2021?
“The core of our business has always been about tenant sustainability. Our goal is to enable and support them to maintain their tenancies.
“2021 will definitely be a challenge, that’s financially; dealing with isolation; protecting their health and maintaining a positive outlook – we will need to focus on resources on priority cases amongst our tenants.
“Enabled by the right technology, we can focus our resources on the most serious and demanding cases”
“However, by focusing our resources efficiently and being agile, we can spend the most time in the community with those who need our support most.
“Enabled by the right technology, we can focus our resources on the most serious and demanding cases, amidst the operational constraints of the pandemic.
“For tenants in less urgent need of help, we will utilise remote support facilities and perhaps even employ AI technology in some less critical issues.
“This will help us to manage routine, easier to serve problems, further enabling us to dedicate more time to high priority cases and the residents that need us most.”