I am sure you like me have heard plenty of promises in your time.
After all, you like me have probably been around the block a few times. How often have you heard software suppliers promise to provide comprehensive reporting, save x, create efficiencies to the square of y and crucially, not continue to leave the toilet seat up? Well, its déjà vu right there.
It’s right to be cynical and I am used to the fight it often takes to get suppliers to implement, attend project and account management meetings, even during the initial project. Promises broken quite early on. How many of your suppliers come back on a regular basis and ask you how your organisation is doing, with whatever silver bullet you purchased, back in the heady pre-Brexit days? Not so many in my experience. Even rarer, have you ever had a supplier come back with the tape measure, hydrometer, theodolite etc. to check where you are on the outcomes journey?
Now I have seen a few case studies and they talk a lot in generalisations on the whole, when you really examine the language. With all the statutory returns we have in SocialHousing, you would think we would be awash with data, particularly as most software providers are helping us manage all that information. You know the areas, voids, arrears, income, repairs spend, achieving target completions and SLA’s etc.
Imagine my surprise a few weeks ago when I stumbled across an account manager (actually calling themselves a ‘Client Success Consultant’), chucking performance data at an organisation, like a scattergun and managing to keep the seat down, in the sole lavatory on that floor too (I believe). It’s said that the more you see, the less surprises you have and I was keen to ask the salient logical questions. I.E. Is that a one-off, how long have you been using this stuff, what were the deliverables and are you achieving them?
I found the answers most surprising, remarkably positive and quite refreshing, compared with what I am used to seeing a lot of, from many suppliers in the sector. Two levels of account management actually operate, the Success Consultants at a more operational level and an upper set of ‘Account Directors’. How many software suppliers do you have, with two layers of effective account management?
Apparently the software solution was sold with clear outcome aims, around rent arrears management and had been in use for over a couple of years. Regular account management consisted of caseload trend management, collating new ideas, sharing what was being delivered, what was on the roadmap and when it might be delivered. Emphasis was on data, evidencing improvement and achieving successful outcomes, for the landlord. It’s great to see decent account management, as its often where follow-on service breaks down. (Perhaps one for a whole future blog, that subject).
I’ve worked with a few landlords and RP’s, that have generally reflected positively on Mobysoft Rentsense in the past. Good out of the box, flexible arrears solutions, covering what many bigger HMS systems often seem to struggle to crack. Taking an evidence based approach to account management however, is something special in the sector, particularly in a discipline under so much pressure from Universal Credit, LHA Caps and bedroom Tax. Few software or service providers actually regularly measure those outcomes with clients, effectively keeping their promises.
In a world where Software As A Service (SAAS) is becoming more of an operating model for application users, suppliers will be under more pressure to satisfy, than ever before. About time SocialHousing organisations had the upper hand and saw the benefits promised, rolling in every quarter, on time, every time.
More on Rentsense at http://www.mobysoft.com/ and some chewy for the eyes at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jo1cUfm_2Mo&feature=youtu.be
If you are at Manchester Central, for the annual big CIH housing event mid-June, look out for me. Mobysoft I believe also can be found on stand G20 and have two free seminars on UC (Universal Credit) and how to survive the 1% rent cut. Book early as they say, at http://www.mobysoft.com/events/cih-housing-2017-conference-exhibition
Related Post: Can better use of IT/Telephony make it easier to Call2Collect?
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Buzzcocks - Promises.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009
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