Friday, 6 March 2015

All For Self Service

If you do the Twitter thing, follow me at @hotpixUK
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If you have a housing organisation customer self service portal, please take the survey at . Thank you!

A couple of weeks ago I had some exchanges about tenant self service portals, with Ade Capon (@AdeCapon), brains behind #HousingDay, other things and is a real good egg.

Digital First is the way to move for our housing systems, although I believe we need a mixture of channels, in order to reach all our customers, in ways that suit them. While access to devices, wifi and broadband is another matter, what we were thinking about, is what applications are out there currently, what's working for housing & what's not.

Having worked on both sides of the fence, as HMS supplier and now three & a half years successfully matching housing organisations with solutions that work, I have my own ideas of what the ideal might be. That would include easy login via existing social media accounts (such as Facebook, Twitter or Google+), as well as more traditional email sign-in. Having a site that could be exposed as a convenient app, render on a range of browsers and display footprints well, are all on my checklist.

As mentioned in a great session I did with the (mighty) Barry Marlow (@BarryMarlow) this week, at the Housing Technology Conference at the Oxford Belfry, I think we should have customer self service like the commercial world. That way we will be taken seriously and we can take our software providers seriously. So like a bank sends us a secure link that then exposes an EDM document, such as a statement or an invoice, UK Housing should aim as high.

All the usual things that our customers might expect should be on tap. IE Statements, make a payment (with their account patched in so they don't have to re-key much, unlike a bland link to Allpay or Paypal etc), check repairs & planned works in their property & around them, order some fully, with a 'real' appointment, and be restricted to the repairs we are responsible for.

Case based activity should be fully supported, ASB, Complaints, Complements, Permissions, Notice/terminations, as should housing options (in the Scottish sense, including services we can signpost & link to beyond pure accommodation) as well as mutual exchange support, transfer lists and link to local Common Housing Registers. Oh & drop the board members in cardigans on your info page, while introducing reward points, that can be seen in the portal and spent locally.

In my world, those self service interactions must all update the back end systems in real time. Sending an email in is so 1990's. All we are doing in that shabby situation is creating more admin in our back offices, delay, the chance of losing those messages in the organisation and increasing the probability we will need to call the customer back. I was talking to one IT manager just this week who is ditching one of those types of portals and spending more money with his HMS provider to buy a properly integrated one. I won't name products, but if you get in touch directly I might.

Please let us have your views on the link below. Everyone I work with is aware of my staunch independent viewpoint. Its more about solving the problems than who in most cases.

Like me, this survey is fully independent of suppliers etc, so you are safe to share your views good or bad. It might well help us push software suppliers towards where we need to be, in order to serve our residents better! Thanking you in advance.

If you have a housing organisation customer self service portal (such as iHousing, SeeMyData, DataFish, in-house developed or any other), please take the survey at . Thank you!

Related Post: How can we tackle getting more tenants online then?


You can link with me on LinkedIn here - It would be great to connect !

Fun Loving Criminals - All For SelfFun Loving Criminals - All For Self.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting 07854-655009

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