Sunday, 21 June 2015

Channel Shift Insight

If you do the Twitter thing, follow me at @hotpixUK
or LinkedIn here

Between the three of us, Ade Capon of Yorkshire Housing , Brett Sadler of North Wales HA and my good self, set up a survey back in the spring on 'Customer Self Service', (what might have been called 'tenant self service' a few years back).

We did all nag, email, tweet and cajole our colleagues and contacts to take part, and we had just over 100 when we had finished. A great result as I know, social housing people are busy, sometimes too it can be embarrassing to share info on things that often don't go quite as well as we would have hoped.

I know that to pretty much everyone I work with, Channel Shift is top of the business plan to extend services 24/7, while perhaps saving some money at the same time. Let's not beat about the bush, many organisations are struggling with understanding it, getting decent software to support it and then getting all demographics on-board and accessing it.

This is not just a UK problem either. I recently did some work for an HA down under in Victoria, you know what, they have some of the same challenges. So I have got to say, I guessed some of the outcomes, we saw coming through in the survey.

There are some interesting insights we highlighted that I think new adopters can be aware of, and the early pioneers can learn from too. 

For new adopters, from a systems point of view, better specification of needs and matching to your available portal products is so essential. Proof of credible integration can prevent a raft of issues later, when initially procuring your 'self service portal'. Pin down exactly what will be provided, to avoid disappointment later.  I've had at least three conversations since Christmas, that have featured a comm's person telling me, "I didn't think it would just send us an email once the tenant asked for x or y!".

For existing adopters the key is to increase footfall (try enrolling everyone with a username/password for example), and extend service from the purely transactional. Get beyond providing a rent statement in your browser or logging a simple repair. Why can't your customers (or neighbours, next to your schemes which are not) start or add incidents to an ASB case? Apply for pet permissions or start a complaint? Why can't we send them letters and other communications completely digitally (i.e. an EDM document) , like your bank does?

From the survey results, you can see that our suppliers still have a lot to do and we need to be serious about getting our customers online.  From some comments too, our mindset about tenants need to change too. You know what, they use the web just like us and deserve the same standard from our organisations, as the best out there.

I hope you enjoy the survey, you can access it at Ade's Yorkshire Housing Comm's blog, Please take some insights, procure better, hold suppliers to account, and let's make our portals look like the real world. How hard can it really be? Honestly!

Oh & hugs and kisses to everyone who shared their experiences of Customer Self Service in the survey. If I can help in any way, link or email me on Linkedin, or catch me at one of the housing conferences or exhibitions.

Related Post: When dealing with suppliers, particularly ICT ones, know what to ask


I would be pleased to connect with you on LinkedIn - Message me with any issues or queries, you would like to be explored in this blog. We generally receive a couple of suggestions each month.

Joy Division - InsightJoy Division - Insight.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting 07854-655009

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