or LinkedIn here https://uk.linkedin.com/in/tonysmiththathousingitguy
As many of my twitter followers are aware, I often try to engage as widely as possible in the sector. A lot of that includes chats with lots of residents, who essentially are the ultimate end users of many of the systems that I am involved in, helping landlords procure and squeeze the ultimate from. Dozens over the years have contacted me after reading this blog.
Most residents I believe have a positive (or perhaps adequate more realistically) experience of the services provided by their landlords. Certainly though, there are problems out there, poor service, poorly supervised & controlled maintenance contractors, poor communication probably lying at the root of most issues. Restricted funding for truly affordable and social housing does not help either.
While a few people in the sector I know, may take the view that they are better blocking some of those voices, I would rather try to engage and understand. Maybe I can suggest something new or just learn by the insights of what is going wrong from the resident viewpoint.
These resident stories are the ideal threads to help me understand what’s missing in landlord systems and processes. Far better than a room of housing managers, imagining what processes should look like for poorly understood tenant needs. Actually that is a principle of the ‘Design Thinking’ methodology and a great way to design better systems.
Occasionally, I am sure (& the old person has told me), I have been described by some as a ‘loud Manc’. Over the summer on Twitter I have followed and had a few exchanges with a chap called Phil Murphy (@MancCommunities), who probably has gained membership of that exclusive club too.
Phil is a specialist in fire safety, a socialhousing resident and active in bringing a historic Carnegie library back into use as an arts centre. As anyone who knows me well might predict, I arranged to meet up with him for a pint and a bite of lunch. It was one of the most interesting afternoons I have had all year.
Phil is working on a number of resident projects, many involving fire safety and how residents and landlords may identify issues easily. I am sure when some initiatives/events are arranged I will blog about them here, to help spread the word.
Its refreshing to see so many residents using free social media tools, seemingly many using them better than some landlord comms teams, still locked in the 9-5. Phil has now set up a new site, focusing on resident issues called ‘Real Voices’ https://realvoices.org.uk/ . Keeping with the DIY and free tools ethos, Phil has built it with a piece of open source software called Elgg ( https://elgg.org ). It was a new one to me, although Phil had successfully used it before on a previous project. It has potential for the users and group owners to have some control and use it to form their own networks around their own groups that they control.
I think the site & environment has massive potential, for residents to share problems and landlords to see service failings that can be tackled with better management, systems and procedures. Often residents do not know what channels they can use to have their issues addressed or in some cases have (or appear to have), exhausted those channels and can benefit from others experiences.
I would advise all residents and tenants who read this blog, to register on https://realvoices.org.uk/ and check it out. Comments here welcome on your experiences too.
Related Post: Why customer service teams, need to see digital self-service as the future evolving, not just the next threat...
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Rage Against The Machine – Voice Of The Voiceless.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009
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