Monday, 15 May 2017

Brighton Rock

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Oh to be beside the seaside!

I did just that last week, with a trip to Brighton, along to the Kirona DRS conference. It’s been a few decades since I was last down there, but it does seem to have reached ‘peak beard’, just based on the clientele at the ‘Brighton Beer Dispensary’, where I met up with an old housing chum from down the road in Worthing, for a few scoops. 

Anyone who has worked with me, knows I am a bid advocate for getting involved in user groups, taking the opportunity to participate, shape products and get closer to those back-room folks who write the software applications, that solve our problems, but occasionally make us tear our hair out too!

In a very enjoyable couple of days, when I learned a lot, David Todd again seemed to bring the sunshine with him and kept all attendees engaged and interested throughout.

The DRS scheduler, some still refer to as Optitime, is found with a vast mix of applications, different contractor as well as mobile systems. So this conference is a very diverse and interesting one, always with interesting people to meet, running all sorts of applications in Social Housing. I came away having learned as much about upgrades to other housing systems and which suppliers seem to be the most irritating at present, as well as of course, where the Kirona roadmap will take us.

A big aspect of the sessions this time, besides some free Kirona rock (nice touch!), was self-service and an awareness of digital strategies for socialhousing. As you would expect, self-service appointments were a key topic that came up. It’s been a while coming, while supermarkets have been setting expectations for us. A two hour appointment with Asda or the chance of a one hour one with Sainsbury’s. In relation to that, an all day appointment, which is great for the DLO, but not so good for the modern resident juggling two jobs and childcare.

I have seen no end of charts telling me a face to face costs £10, a call centre interaction £5.50 and a web self-serve just pence. That only holds true if we are managing hundreds of those web self-serve transactions every day. Otherwise that will cost you nearer £2.50 a go. Maybe rewarding our residents who ‘do it online’ might help with persuading them it’s a better idea than hanging on the telephone for 5 – 10 minutes. If we provided carrots like better appointment slots online, we would not need to consider sticks, such as extended waiting times, to beat our customers with.

We shouldn’t be beating our customers up, we should be offering them a number of ways to interact with us, that suit them. If we get it right, we won’t need to have a special digital strategy, just thinking ‘Digital First’ will become our natural instinct. 

Related Post: Do we aim high enough with our web self-service? 


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Queen – Brighton RockQueen – Brighton Rock.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting 07854-655009

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