Futr and Housing Digital
Our UK Housing expert, Kitty Hadaway, spoke at a recent Housing Digital Social, reflecting on how the pandemic has catapulted digital transformation to meet residents’ changing expectations and what social landlords have learned.
Kitty explored how landlords can capitalise on these opportunities to supercharge their customer service and meet the targets set out in the Social Housing White Paper.
The session was punctuated by an interactive demonstration of Futr’s technology deployed in WhatsApp.
Here, we recap some of the session highlights.
Changing behaviours and expectations
Reflecting on recent months, Kitty recounted that globally internet usage increased by as much as 70% during the pandemic. She pointed out that “across the UK housing sector, residents’ appetites for digital was no different.” MHS Homes Chief Executive recently told her that the number of their residents with an online account increased by 10+% during the pandemic. And, at a recent industry webinar, over 80% of attendees stated that many of their resident services are now online, or over 50% of their work is done online.
Lessons on digital transformation
According to Kitty, within this context, housing associations learnt two really important lessons:
- They can make quick and successful decisions without running them through task forces and months and months of review meetings.
- Residents’ expectations have grown as they’ve become more digitally native in the past year.
Ultimately, Kitty declares:
“Landlords and tenants are experiencing a once in a decade paradigm shift.”
How does that get us to self-serve?
According to Kitty:
“Self-serve tools are the key. They are perfect for freeing up your customer support colleagues to work on more complex issues – because this isn’t about taking away existing services like the phones, but instead giving your residents more choice on how they engage with you.”
Kitty goes on to explain that:
“In the mix of customer portals, apps, and new housing management systems, a number of housing associations are finding, in particular, that chatbots are proving a quick-win that can harmonise self-serve tools and capitalise on the wave of multi-channel digital adoption.”
While Futr’s landlord clients typically begin using Futr’s technology on their website, our clients also enable their customers to get answers to questions in apps they already use every day, such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Instagram.
One way of doing this is by using a QR code to begin the conversation. You can imagine how a landlord might use this. For example, they may put a QR code in a communal area or at a reception saying ‘scan this to ask us any question’.
To help Housing Digital’s members imagine this in action, Kitty here invited guests to scan a QR code and test drive Futr’s technology.
Catch up on the entire keynote session here.