The benefits of implementing a digital strategy in social housing

Access to services through commonly used technology and applications is no longer a privilege, it is the norm. Most commodities and services are now available to us as consumers through a digital engagement whether that is paying council tax, ordering food or sending a birthday card to a distant friend.

Our 2017 survey report showed that this year, associations have eased cuts to tenant and community services and instead looked inwards to find savings. The digitalisation agenda is now in full swing. Technology updates are the number one focus as RPs and RSLs seek to find efficiencies, improve organisational effectiveness and enhance services for staff and tenants.

However, when it comes to digital implementation, there appears to be a gap between perception and reality. On a scale of zero to five, where zero equals no technology adoption and five represents full digital automation, respondents ranked themselves a two or a three. However, our own analysis depicted a score of 0.5 to 1.5 is more representative.

The world has evolved digitally and the social housing sector has started to embrace many of the technological opportunities that have emerged. This is a fast evolving environment; it requires a real commitment and it is crucial to make sure your customers are on board.

The benefits of implementing a digital strategy

1. Cost savings

  • Go paper-free and get a faster, greener service by removing printing and distribution costs.
  • On average, it costs £12.10 to send a communication via post yet only £0.05p to send online.

2. Improving customer experience

  • Self-service web portals to improve communication with residents and customers.
  • Mobile apps (integrated with housing system data) to engage a positive two-way conversation between staff and customers
  • Physical assets to automatically login a report when faulty.
  • Book and track repairs and, if necessary, moving appointment times.
  • Make and manage rent payments quickly and securely online.
  • Access details about their homes (turning the water off, heating instructions).
  • Request a priority payment to be set up.

3. Internal communication and operations

  • Delivery of training via online portals.
  • Self-service web portals to improved collaboration with suppliers, stakeholders and facilities management teams.
  • Swiftly identify newly void properties.
  • View properties and carry out the end-to-end sales application process online.
  • Gain insight and understanding of your customer’s journey.

For more information please contact Steve Lyon.