or LinkedIn here https://uk.linkedin.com/in/tonysmiththathousingitguy
I was reading that Bromford are looking at giving all tenants a taste of being a plumber, this week. Thinking it was a story about 'modern apprentices', I read on. It was in fact about equipping customers with the skills to tackle minor repair jobs around the home. Rob Dudley (job title 'True Leader' - Shome Mishtake Shurely?), was the author and had a useful graphic to illustrate.
Amusing though this was, I am an advocate of making tenants more self-sufficient, in a positive way around repairs. I and most people in my shoes with a mortgage, make decisions on how much of a job we might tackle, and what we wont. Social housing tenants may be more inclined to just pick up the phone to a customer service centre, if the landlord is responsible for the repair or not.
|Rob Dudleys training kit - that will get them plumbing...|
Now Bromford are generally, or like to think they are, in front of the curve. Who knows if the Bromford Lab helped knock this killer idea out? However, I have got to say, this was occurring over ten years ago. It was interesting circumstances too, how I learned about it.
I was doing a large Housing Management System implementation back in 2005 and used to always book into a certain Best Western hotel. I always asked for my clients 'special rate', which was about £75 including excellent full, cooked breakfast. I got friendly with the lady on reception, who recognised me on booking.
One evening after a nice Dover sole, she asked me if I worked for my client. Rather sheepishly I said I worked with, rather than 'for' my client. i thought I had been rumbled. She wanted to engage me about her best friend, who lived in one of their one bed flats, down the road. I obliged naturally.
She said that her friend had virtually been talked though fixing the repair herself. She was somewhat disgusted. I sympathised and said I could imagine what systems and processes were at work there. Having told me approximately where her friend had lived, a place I had driven past many times on the south coast, near a vineyard, she told me her landlord. Surprisingly I had to say it was someone who was a client of mine too.
Being curious, I asked her what she thought of her RSL. As readers of this blog know, I am too polite to expose the guilty etc, but she said they were really good. Repairs were done on time, for satisfaction, they were all over her, like a rash, asking how it was for her etc. brilliant customer service. Then came the rub. I asked, "Any idea what your friend pays, also what do you pay if you wish you can share that with me". I mean I did know her pretty well.
Guess what she said? My landlord charges me £89 a week, while my friend just pays £58.50, they rip me off! I then explained to her the value she received for that higher rent. It seems even in social housing, we get what we pay for (I believe most of the time). In fairness, this was probably a rent that she felt was affordable.
In this case, her friend was being turned into a plumber, which was the service level maybe you could expect to receive for that rent. I am not saying it's right, but it is a way of viewing the world. Both of these clients of mine, used the same application and scripting solution. The set up was what distinguished them.
If we are going to nudge our tenants in the direction of more practical skills, are we looking to enrich their experience, or look to save money? Maybe a bit of both? Why can't we enrich our tenants experiences if we take them down this road? Think carefully on the effect we have on customers and decide how we can support their journey, as well as our omni-channel ambitions.
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Related Post: How do we bring different group RSL systems together?
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David Bowie - Working Class Hero.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009
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