Tenant-Centric Contact Centre Platforms for Social Housing Associations

The Challenges Faced by Housing Association in 2023

These are difficult times for Housing Associations. They are challenged to meet the Tenant Satisfaction Measures posed by government compliance targets while facing spiralling costs out of sync with increased rental opportunities.

They are burdened by bad press highlighting the lows of the industry while striving to modernise customer interactions and implement operating efficiencies.

These challenges can be met and targets exceeded if the organisations have the customer engagement technology tools in place to support the staff and management team in the Housing Association.

UK Housing Associations recognise that Technology can help

26% of interviewed Housing Associations attending the May 2023 Social Housing Strategic Networking Event viewed modernising service delivery models as their top strategic priority.

27% stated that an omnichannel engagement model was their top technology priority.

With over half making a concerted effort to effect digital change and 48% identifying the Contact Centre being the highest priority.

Four Highlighted Challenges

Let’s consider these challenges in delivering excellent customer service:

1. Communication barriers: Housing organisations often support customers with various backgrounds, cultures, and preferred communication channels. While some tenants may be at ease communicating via digital channels, others may prefer to communicate via phone or face-to-face, so organisations must manage these different communication preferences.

2. Resource constraints: Housing organisations face various budget constraints that may result in limited resources and staff capacities, and this is in a time of high-volume call traffic and increasing service level expectations.  A communication breakdown can result in time wasted in maintenance staff being unable to access an empty property, and queue times for incoming calls can frustrate customers. Maintenance and Repair staff that are not properly prepared for the job being given the wrong or insufficient information results in attending the property with the wrong tools, with not enough time and potentially the wrong skills or manpower.

3. Complex regulations: Not meeting the regulator’s targets for customer experience, data security, privacy compliance, and tenancy laws can severely impact an organisation’s ability to meet funding requirements. The regulations can be challenging to interpret and difficult to apply consistently when managing a varied customer base, often with vulnerable groups and special needs.

4. Managing expectations: Tenants may have high and sometimes unrealistic expectations about the level of service that they are entitled to. This can be exacerbated when demands go beyond the capability of the housing associations, despite their best efforts.

Ciptex believes that technology adoption to support modern tenant customers’ communication and engagement needs is the path that innovative Housing Associations must take.

Ciptex have the Technology experts to help face the challenges

While technology can help improve customer engagement, it needs to be integrated with existing systems, and necessary skills will need to be trained among agents and supervisors for solutions to be successful.

At Ciptex, we have world-class experts able to implement the Twilio Flex Customer Engagement platform. We have a pedigree of integrating to multiple Housing Systems and CRM platforms.

The Benefits of a Tenant-Centric Multichannel Call Centre

A multichannel digital approach using a cloud-based contact centre offers many benefits for Social Housing organisations looking to comply with government legislation.

By providing a variety of communication channels, such as phone, email, web chat, and social media messaging, residents can easily contact their housing provider on their preferred channel.

This approach offers increased accessibility and transparency, improving customer satisfaction and retention. Additionally, a cloud-based solution enables secure, compliant data storage and monitoring, ensuring that sensitive resident information is protected.

The Call Centre Solution is the collection point for all information associated with a repair. This is the description of the issue, a video or set of photographs identifying the required activity, a full history of all conversations with the tenant (voice, video or chat), and insight into the attributes of the tenant, including first language and vulnerability status.

Using a multichannel approach, social housing organisations can meet government regulations, improve customer service, and streamline operations.

Top five benefits of a Tenant Centric Customer Communication Platform

1.Improved customer service: Customers can contact the maintenance operation by their preferred communication channel, leading to increased accessibility and customer satisfaction. Connected digital solutions enable faster query resolution times and reduce the need for customer follow-ups, freeing up staff to focus on other essential tasks.

2. One-time-visit: The objective is for the maintenance engineer to arrive at the property with the right tools, skills and information to solve the problem in one visit resulting in operating efficiencies and improved customer satisfaction.

3. Reduced costs: Digital solutions can reduce the cost of staffing and physical office spaces and cut down on paper usage and storage costs.

4. Better insights: Supervisors can analyse data and customer interactions recorded through digital channels to understand customers’ needs and preferences better.

5. Enhanced collaboration: Digital channels allow maintenance staff to more easily collaborate with customers and colleagues, increasing productivity and improving problem-solving abilities.

How Vulnerable Customers can be helped with an Omnichannel Solution

Vulnerable customers can benefit greatly from digital-first multichannel contact centre solutions for several reasons:

  • Increased accessibility: Digital channels such as web chat, messaging, and email offer more accessible communication options for customers who may have difficulty using traditional phone lines or need assistance outside regular business hours.
  • Personalised support: Digital channels allow for storing customer data that can be accessed during any future interactions. This gives agents a better understanding of the customer’s history and current status, enabling more personalised and practical support.
  • Improved privacy: Customers reluctant to speak about sensitive issues or shy away from disclosing confidential information in person or over the phone can share that information more comfortably on digital channels.
  • Greater flexibility: Digital-first multichannel contact centre solutions offer multiple alternative communication channels to vulnerable customers, reducing wait times for phone calls and enabling customers to communicate on their terms.
  • Better follow-up: Automated messaging and appointment scheduling can be more accessible and efficient for vulnerable customers, who will better appreciate the ability to confirm appointments and regularly follow-up inquiries.

How Technology can help with Tenant Satisfaction Measures

An omnichannel cloud contact centre solution can help a social housing association comply with government tenant satisfaction measures in several ways:

  • Improved communication: By offering a range of communication channels such as phone, email, messaging, and web chat, the Housing Association can cater to their diverse tenant needs and provide an easy way for tenants to provide feedback.
  • Real-time monitoring: By monitoring and analysing interactions on all channels, the housing association can quickly identify areas of improvement and take timely actions to improve tenant satisfaction.
  • Personalisation: An omnichannel cloud contact centre solution allows for a more personalised approach to tenant interactions. With integration into CRM and property data, staff can quickly identify tenants and offer tailored solutions to their needs.
  • Faster resolution times: By providing tenants with multiple channels to report maintenance issues, the Housing Association can more quickly respond to and resolve issues, which is critical to improving tenant satisfaction and meeting regulatory measures.
  • Greater transparency: An omnichannel cloud contact centre solution provides a complete communication trail for each tenant interaction, which promotes greater transparency and accountability in the social housing operation.

Contact Centre Agent Job Satisfaction

A cloud contact centre can improve agent efficiency and job satisfaction in several ways:

1. Easy access: Cloud contact centres provide agents easy access to all essential customer data. This enables agents to quickly gain contextual customer insight and serve them better, leading to quicker resolution times and greater customer satisfaction.

2. More flexibility: Cloud contact centre solutions allow agents to work remotely while maintaining access to the same information and tools, which can increase job satisfaction and promote work-life balance.

3. Streamlined processes: Cloud contact centre solutions automate many repetitive tasks that can slow down workload and reduce motivation amongst agents. This allows agents to concentrate on providing exceptional customer care and using their expertise to solve more complicated customer problems.

4. Better collaboration: A cloud contact centre encourages better interactions with colleagues to share ideas and learning, which can help reduce silos in the business and create a sense of community among agents. This may enhance job satisfaction and help keep agents more engaged at work.

5. Advanced analytics: Cloud-based contact centres offer powerful analytical tools, allowing business managers to track essential metrics and customer service responses. This feedback provides agents with detailed performance feedback to help them improve in their role and accomplish more. When agents feel they are achieving goals and delivering value, they have a sense of accomplishment that can improve job satisfaction.

In Summary

Ciptex recognises the challenges housing associations face in meeting government compliance targets while striving to modernise customer interactions and implement operating efficiencies.

Ciptex proposes that technology adoption to support tenants’ communication and engagement needs is the path innovative Housing Associations must take. Employing a multichannel digital approach using a cloud-based contact centre offers greater accessibility, transparency, and collaboration, leading to improved customer satisfaction and retention. Additionally, vulnerable customers can benefit greatly from a digital-first multichannel contact centre by offering personalised and accessible support. A cloud contact centre can also improve agent efficiency and job satisfaction by providing easy access to essential customer data, promoting work-life balance, streamlining processes, increasing collaboration, and providing advanced analytics.