Social housing maintenance technology has a pretty clear remit – capture what’s wrong with a property, or is likely to be a problem in the near future, and fix it. Refresh or revitalise, update or upgrade, replace or remove; do what is needed to ensure the tenant is safe, comfortable and content whilst delivering a cost-efficient and value-driven service.
But as technology advances and society as a whole becomes digitally-savvy, there are lessons that even a sector as hands-on as maintenance can learn to take it beyond just the act of maintenance. How a repair comes about, the experience the tenant has and the ease in which a repair can be arranged is becoming just as important as the work itself.
The Customer Journey in Social Housing
Customer journey is a much-utilised phrase in sectors like retail and call-centres but by recognising its importance in housing, the very nature of tenant/landlord relationships could be transformed.
The growing role of technology in everyday life
In 2020, it was estimated that 84% of UK adults own a smart phone, spending an average of two and a half hours online every day. That’s far more time that people are prepared to spend trying to get hold of someone in an office or on the phone on hold waiting to be put through to the right department. With this comes a huge opportunity to think about the way repairs are brought about, as well as making them happen.
Digital inclusion and Social Housing Technology
Social housing technology and the development of a digital platform is key to transforming the maintenance process. Whether a tenant portal or suite of engagement tools including an app, this will create a level of consistency in the interactions that can be managed, improve the quality of data and generate operational efficiencies for the landlord or housing association.
This type of platform allows all tenant information to be collated in a single place and to be made accessible to the appropriate people. As a result, it lends itself to a better tenant experience as a record of previous calls made or issues logged can be accessed and acknowledge as part of an ongoing conversation.
From a tenant perspective, this type of platform offers simplicity, ease of use and accessibility – three things that are key when trying to get a problem solved.
Staying connected with Social Housing Technology
Connected devices and smart meters offer another great opportunity for housing associations to diversify their offering while improving the tenant experience. Embracing these innovative technologies within social housing can detect how people are using their accommodation and allow providers to alter services, such as heating, in real-time.
When used effectively, this technology can help housing associations to anticipate and handle issues faster, as well as be more proactive and strategic in commissioning repairs or replacements quicker in order to minimise costs and disruption.
Through access to a single view of data and greater insights into where money and time are spent, housing providers can both overcome market challenges and deliver better outcomes for people and communities.
Data – it’s the engine that drives improvements, promotes efficiencies and generates cost savings. Delivering repair and maintenance work across social housing portfolios and for insurance-related claims is high-volume and varied work that can involve a huge breadth of jobs.