Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Long Gone

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Recently I have been reading the excellent book ‘Nudge’ by Richard H Thaler. Also, quite spookily I have been working with a few clients on rechargeable repairs process.

‘That old chestnut’ you are thinking. I have encountered many organisations over the years that take a sceptical view of these, mainly because hardly anyone bothers to collect them. Or at best manage to collect about a quarter, if they are lucky. It always baffles me why rechargeable repair costs are not just sold on to a factoring company, to recover at least 30% of the invoiced value. That would at least be 25% more efficient and save the time of staff chasing them currently.

I think that having an efficient recharge policy, driven by customer services, can trap a lot of those lost keys, broken doors and tenant caused blockages, at a stroke. It’s essential that tenants are made aware of that first or course, at sign up and easily accessible on your website. More importantly, the ‘nudge’ potential of this, in reducing costs, can potentially be even greater. Once a tenant has been threatened with a charge of £40 for losing their keys and tells their friends, word will spread.

What I have described there, what I would call ‘transactional recharges’ is one thing, what about ones initiated by a property becoming void and the tenant is Long Gone? Stolen white goods, criminal damage, unauthorised modifications etc. Most of our staff now have a video camera in their pocket, in the form of a Smartphone. A 20 second video pre and post void works would work a treat. Possibly standing up in court too! Better still, if you have a mobile solution, have you considered incorporating that into your workflow?

Again a handy nudge would be to build a charging sheet and put the horrifying details on your website or Facebook pages, and explain that 99% of people vacate your tenancies without extra charge or being pursued in court. With costs of rectifying this type of void repair incident often over £3,000, just dissuading a third of tenants not to do it, makes a sizable difference.

In fairness, many of these incidents occur over time and can be picked up by staff (trades & otherwise) being the organisations eyes & ears. If your safeguarding training and systems to allow staff to easily report and track what they see are easy/convenient to use, void recharges can potentially be picked up before they happen.

Related Post: Are you & your users on the Qlikview bus?

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Johnny Marr - Long GoneJohnny Marr - Long Gone.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting 07854-655009

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