Social housing has been thrust into the spotlight recently as some tenants have turned to the media to highlight the poor state of repair of their homes. These cases highlight that communications between tenants and landlords can break down in what is perhaps one of the most critical and emotive services that Housing Associations offer – repairs and maintenance.
The Housing Ombudsman’s latest insight report (November 2021) showed that amongst complaints relating to property conditions, 38% related to Housing Association properties. It’s no surprise therefore, that this rising level of dissatisfaction is being leveraged by legal firms proactively promoting no-win no-fee disrepair claims to your tenants.
So how can Housing Associations turn this around and deliver a more positive repairs and maintenance service to their tenants?
Understand your customers’ perspective
The number one thing to consider is your customers and critically, understanding their expectations.
Your tenants will be consumers of other industries and services. In this wider and more competitive picture, your customers no longer belong to you. As such, your tenants’ expectations have changed.
Your customers will consume the services of customer-obsessed companies like Amazon and DPD. Fundamentally, both companies deliver an excellent customer experience because they communicate with their customers at every milestone of their customer journey. And when customers are kept well-informed, they feel as though they are empowered and an integral part of the service delivery.
The question then, is should these expectations be different for Landlords delivering their repairs and maintenance services? No.
Like Amazon or DPD, a landlord will know all the key communication points throughout their Repairs and Maintenance service delivery such as: ‘A request has been received to do a repair’, ‘An appointment has been scheduled for X day/time’, ‘Your operative will be with you today between X and Y’, ‘How would you rate the service you received today?’.
Automated communications at each of these critical milestones within the customer journey can be implemented quickly, and immediately change the dynamic of the service experience, empowering your customer throughout.
Embrace change to move forward
Now is the time to take inspiration from the successful customer-obsessed giants and bring your repairs and maintenance service in-line with the broad customer service standards that have been set, and are now expected, irrelevant of the sector in which you operate.
Embracing innovative technology, such as a comprehensive service management system, allows all repairs and maintenance job details to be recorded and accessed by your back-office team, mobile workforce and subcontractors. This gives your whole team a single version of the truth upon which to communicate with tenants.
By placing emphasis on delivering a customer-centric service which anticipates rather than reacts, will fundamentally transform your customer engagement capabilities.
In the same way that Amazon sends an email to confirm the date of your package delivery, and then another on the day confirming the delivery time, you can achieve the same level of proactivity within your repairs and maintenance service.
As a housing specialist, Oneserve passionately supports customer-centricity. Our functionality, such as customisable workflows and automated communications, support you in keeping your customers better informed at defined points in their journey; and we embrace a customer-first approach when working with our own clients.
While all service management platforms deliver broadly the same functionality, what sets Oneserve apart is the way in which our services are delivered. Focus is placed on working in partnership with our clients and embracing Everyday Evolution to support the continual delivery of quality customer experiences throughout the repairs and maintenance service.
Find out more about our comprehensive service management platform at www.oneserve.co.uk.