or LinkedIn here https://uk.linkedin.com/in/tonysmiththathousingitguy
There’s more than one way for customer services to take a repair request call, from a resident. I have guess I have seen most of them and recommended a few on occasion, to my CRM or DLO internal repairs system clients.
One aspect that often divides opinion, is do we need a generalist approach or a dedicated repairs reception. The latter works great where we have experienced repairs people, occasionally some of them have at some time, ‘been on the tools’. Think B&Q. Find a 55+ year old in aisle 16 and you will (potentially) walk away with the replacement security bolt (and fittings) of a lifetime. I think I did once!
The point is that we need to capture good quality data, ask the right questions and be consistent.
For the former, the logical historic go-to, was a graphical repairs diagnostic tool. You know the ones. Repairfinder, Keyfax, Locator, ActiveHousing, FixFlow etc. The last few of these are now pitched via browser & cloud these days, adding extra flexibility. The last in the list (FixFlow) was snapped up by European and UK Social Housing solution specialist ‘Aareon AG’ last month. "Fixflo customers will benefit from a significant increase in Fixflo’s research and development budget as its solutions form part of the roadmap for the wider Aareon group".
This is Aareon's second SaaS solution acquisition, just 6 months after private property manager Arthur Online. Is the new way to grow a successful housing software group, to buy in all the SaaS solutions, pre-built, rather than a software giant convert or build them themselves? [Discuss].
Its an interesting acquisition, however not an unexpected one, as Aareon QLF/QLX is migrating to Cloud and browser. A SaaS based graphical repairs diagnosis tool makes sense, however if you were a customer already with one of the other tools, does that mean a potential costly re-purchase or options for squeezing more life out of the existing kit could be available? Interesting times ahead maybe for those RSLs and Councils. ‘Everything in the Cloud’ is very seductive.
In a wider sense though, web-based and SaaS repairs diagnosis tools make sense. These could be priced based volume, i.e. on each diagnosis – pay as you go. Perhaps fairer for smaller RSLs and charities, as not big ticket initial capital outlay. Similar to the way some repair scheduling solutions can sometimes be charged for self-service.
Another big bonus of web/Cloud based repair diagnosis tools is they can be used in multiple settings. EG For customer services receiving repair requests, self-service in the resident portal, plus availability for use by repair operatives, creating follow-on/follow-up jobs. The mysterious ‘Doorstep Appointment’, that I have seen on supplier roadmaps for many years and occasionally in the wild.
A single tool that can be used, if desired, for up to three different settings, would be really useful. It would be great to see if that option emerges, from this Aareon acquisition, or from other players.
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Iggy Pop - How Do Ya Fix a Broken Part.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009
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