Saturday, 19 September 2015


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Great this week to meet so many old friends, clients and ligger's at the Capita Conference at Northampton this week. Of course I was only at the event for research purposes and pure coincidence, that I seemed to meet most people at the free bar. Just to get the apologies out of the road early, sorry Helen I will refrain from calling you Jackie in future and L & M, we will do that meal in Brum soon honest!

The serious bit about this conference malarkey of course is the learning exercise. Seeing what others are doing well, asking them what problems they had, how they got over them. Also, being open to what my old dad would have called "The bleeding obvious".  Or TBO.

I had a TBO moment in a session partly executed by Roger Birkinshaw. All credit to Roger, although he needs to swap out that chap who writes his comedy material!

The TBO moment was around digital payments and that popular pastime that all social housing landlords are pondering over, that is Channel Shifting. Go back twenty years and there were many area offices, with cash receipting tills in them. Most printed on Rent cards and probably for many tenants , they were more like social drop-in centres. Places to have a chat with staff, and I can understand that with lonely, perhaps elderly tenants. However, that's not really efficient and so inevitably they disappeared.

The holy grail (or the holy fail in some cases) these days is getting tenants on direct debits, gaining a regular payment habit with Allpay cards or paying online. It's the last one that we really should be able to crack ere in the 21stcentury, but how many clicks does it take on your website to get your payment in?

It's not surprising that Amazon or others put the basket and the 'Proceed to checkout' button, top right of the page. Where exactly is your 'Pay Now' button? No doubt your comm's team will have planted a carousel of various images sliding leftwards at the top of the page.  Some advice on that one here:

On a really convenient 12" Ultrabook laptop I use a lot, most social housing sites that use a carousel like that, extend pretty much to the bottom of the screen. Same with a medium sized tablet like an iPad Mini or Samsung Galaxy Tab S. Has anyone really thought about this?
Does the National Lottery site have a sexy carousel? No, its got a 'Play Games' button though.Now I bet the lottery got their customers in and asked them exactly what they wanted, rather than their comm's team, who no doubt would have wanted  to fill the site with all those charities helped etc.
Clearly, like the 'Play Games' button on the above, social housing customer self service websites should have 'Pay Your Rent' and 'Log A Repair ' button, right at the top of the website. If customers cannot even find how to pay in a minimum of clicks, you can bet they will give up. That was Roger's point. It took about 10 clicks and lots of scrolling to even get to where you type in your details, on the example website. As usual I would not be so rude, or inappropriate as to reveal Roger's victim, but it was a large social housing provider, starting with an 'S'.

How quickly can your customers pay, how many clicks do they need?  Put like that, it's not really rocket surgery now is it? You better open it & check eh?    

Related Post: So, are you an Automatic Lover?


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.

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(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting 07854-655009

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