by Steven Rae, CEO of digital property management and repairs platform, EVO:
Customer experience is the buzzword of the BTR world. Institutional landlords spend millions on tenant engagement, amenities & services and data collection to measure tenant satisfaction and further underpin their strategy and service provision.
But savvy Housing Associations and other Registered Providers of Social Housing recognise that a positive tenant experience should not be restricted to those that can afford premium rents.
In 2023, landlords need to understand how tenants interact with their home, if it’s positive or negative and what is fuelling that response. That’s the only way housing (of all types) will improve and, in 2023, I think it’s safe to say the majority agree that housing definitely does need to improve.
Which brings me back to social housing. Why shouldn’t a positive tenant experience be actively invested in within this sector too?
Should a tenant expect a longer turnaround in repairs for example, just because they are living in social housing, as opposed to the private sector, or a new purpose built block?
As an industry we have enough expertise and knowledge to utilise data accordingly. We have also come a long way in technology – experience-enhancing property platforms are increasingly accessible and simple to implement.
The good news is, social housing providers are recognising this and making that investment. This year we have signed pilot schemes with Soho Housing, Storm Housing Group, SimplyPhi and just last month Barking & Dagenham Reside, all of whom cite ‘tenant satisfaction’ as the core motivation behind implementing our digital platform.
As a provider of one such platform that works equally well with high end BTR, the wider private rented sector, social housing providers and homelessness charities, the delivery of functional, safe and secure housing alongside active tenant engagement is key.
Our technology facilitates all of the above – both automating solutions for issues like repairs (with all repairs certified, paid for by the landlord); to monitoring levels of satisfaction digitally so that the data can be used for further improvement.
This provides tenants a much more positive experience overall both immediately and long term. In the meantime, the landlord or property manager can focus on activities which add value according to their property provision – whether that be the latest concierge trends or helping housing officers in their delivery of accommodation to those otherwise on the street.
Someone once told me that landlords can add all the bells and whistles they want, but if the lift is broken and the tenant lives on the ninth floor, they won’t stay. Secure, functional housing should be the minimum standard for all tenants. Digitisation can and must help.