By Nathaniel Konzon
Technology has transformed the way your tenants communicate and interact with information – and skyrocketed their expectations of the services you provide.
Social Inclusion and the Digital Tenant
The tenants of today have a huge range of engagement expectations, and striking the balance is essential for social inclusion. Access to the most up to date information about their housing is crucial to a tenant – you need to make sure that you interact with your tenants at the right time, on the right channel, and when they’re in the right place. A failure to deliver this can lead to confusion, disruption, and a significant difference in levels of service for less digitally literate demographics, harming social inclusion, and impacting on the sense of community.
To ensure that no one is left behind, it is vital that you have the communications strategy to meet the needs of all tenants, and the technology to deliver it. Today’s digital tenant demands certain engagement options, such as fully-automated web portals, as standard, but also appreciates the need for human interactions for potentially more complex enquiries. This digital tenant also expects to access information at any time, from any place, and on any channel or device. At the same time, there are still significant numbers of tenants requiring services which are more human as they may feel uncomfortable interacting using digital only methods, and isolated if these are the only communication channels open to them.
Groups such as young and vulnerable people are more likely to avoid phone calls, preferring to be contacted via instant messages or web chats, while the elderly can be uncomfortable using the technology associated with digital channels. To ensure all tenants are connected to the information they need, you should actively engage them on their own terms and meet their own preferences by opening up the full spectrum of tenant engagement methods.
Delivering an effective tenant communications strategy is about more than providing the tenant with the experience they need, however, to maintain an informed and motivated workforce, it is essential that the agent experience is as seamless and simple as possible. If an agent has the information they need to deliver first point of contact resolution, then they free up time and quality to respond to the more complex and sensitive enquiries. Agents need to feel engaged in resolving tenant problems by having the tools to do an effective high quality job, with many vulnerable groups needing higher levels of social care in housing - effective digital tenant strategies need to encompass the needs of everyone in the most appropriate manner.
If an agent has to manually identify a tenant, then manually look up how an issue is being resolved, this leads to a slow and fractured experience for the tenant and the agent. If the case management tools, tenant information tools and CRM system are all seamlessly integrated, then the agent can concentrate on delivering the information, not on finding the information. Effective access to data is also crucial for when fully automated self-service is an appropriate companion to live human contact.
These developments are driving the digital agenda and facilitating huge operational savings that can free up resources which can be sowed back into the community. Technology is allowing housing associations to care for their tenants in a more full and inclusive way without compromising their financial stability. Happier tenants, happier agents, happier communities.
The housing sector can look to where central government has succeeded in strategically integrating their communications technology with their records system in a Citizen Engagement Hub™. Based on our award-winning experience, we have prepared a series of recommendations and observations, which can be found here: http://www.contentguru.com/tenant-communications-2/
Alternatively, please feel free to contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on my mobile at 07957 436 186.