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Futr Thinking

The Social Housing Whitepaper: How Tech is Helping Landlords Reach New Heights in Customer Service

11.02.21 Written by Kitty Hadaway

Housing Associations across the country are still absorbing the detail of the Government’s social housing whitepaper; as well as the implications in implementing its wide-ranging recommendations.

As suppliers to the social housing sector, we welcome the whitepaper’s overarching ambition; to deliver better experiences, opportunities and outcomes for tenants – adopting best practice and learnings from the private sector.

While there are significant organisational challenges in store, landlords have so much to gain from confronting the targets set out in the Government’s Charter for social housing residents.

“We know that the vast majority of social landlords already put their customers at the very heart of policies and decision-making”

Take the new tenant satisfaction measures due to be implemented, monitored and reported on by all social landlords, for example. Through our work with housing associations of all sizes, we know that the vast majority already put their customers at the very heart of policies and decision-making. 

Gathering more detailed feedback from customers and reporting it transparently will provide a much more accurate picture of performance, as well as enabling real-time benchmarking against peers to help drive organisational improvements.

“In an era when the majority of resident issues can be self-served […] how can we ensure that customers are receiving the right support and maintaining a positive impression of their landlord?”

Four of the key deliverables set out in the social housing whitepaper are linked to the way housing associations communicate with their residents. Residents have been told they should expect to: know how their landlord is performing, have complaints dealt with promptly and fairly, be treated with respect, and have their voices heard by their landlord.

In an era when the majority of resident issues can be self-served online or via customer portals; including repairs & maintenance bookings, managing rent payments etc., how can we ensure that customers are receiving the right support and maintaining a positive impression of their landlord?

Conversational chatbots technologies are becoming increasingly valuable tools in supporting private sector customers through the self-serve process, and identifying situations that require human involvement. 

They can provide round-the-clock customer support in any language, are surprisingly quick to integrate with existing systems and provide outcome data in real time.

“It’s hard now to remember a time before the internet, or the practicality of online shopping […] but both innovations faced resistance”

Using Artificial Intelligence (AI), which learns from each new customer encounter, can help chatbots identify issues earlier than some human counterparts –  swiftly signposting the most relevant resources or support required in each scenario.

Artificial Intelligence may seem like a futuristic concept, but its benefits are already being felt across a range of industries. 

It’s hard now to remember a time before the internet, or the practicality of online shopping (especially during a pandemic), but both innovations faced resistance before universal adoption. We fully expect AI chatbots to become a similarly trusted fixture for customers across all sectors.

  • Published 11.02.21
  • By Kitty Hadaway
  • In Futr Thinking
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