It is necessary for every business in every industry to adapt and change their business model to accommodate their customer’s changing behaviours and expectations, and housing associations are no exception. Digital technology is not only about conversions, transactions and growing revenue; it is vital for streamlining processes, optimisation and improving the customer experience.
As digital technologies take the world by storm, embracing these is vital for a housing association to grow and thrive. Some have already begun to tackle this challenge by transforming their IT infrastructures to keep up the high demands of today’s digital world; discover how we helped Crown Simmons achieve this.
Social housing is a rapidly changing industry with many housing associations struggling because of funding cuts, rent freezes and reduced investments. When it comes digitalisation, the social housing sector is not as far advanced as other industries, with many housing associations sceptical of investing in a digital transformation or not having the budget to do so.
However, this is slowly beginning to change as more and more housing associations are starting to see the benefits of going digital. Here are the top five trends we expect to see a rise with the digital transformation of social housing:
Five Digital Trends For Social Housing
1. A Remote Workforce
With the rise of cloud technologies, it is now possible for housing association teams to work remotely, allowing them to focus their time and energy on being out among their tenants. Having a digitally enabled and mobile workforce reduces the need for physical office locations within neighbourhoods.
Remote working allows workers to be more connected with those that need help the most. Less time will be spent on the mundane transactions, and more focus can be made on what really matters; enabling the organisation to become more human with greater face to face interactions.
2. Online Processes
Embracing advances in technology can reduce the amount of paperwork and manual processes required. Customer applications can be moved online which will not only provide a seamless and easy experience for customers but also reduce costs and response times compared with manual, offline applications.
Removing paperwork will free up resources for employees to focus their time and effort on other areas of the business. Moving transaction processes online also offers excellent cost savings for housing associations, with online payments being 20 times cheaper than phone transactions and an incredible 50 times cheaper than face to face.
3. Better Connected
The Internet of Things (IoT), connected devices and smart metres offer a great opportunity for housing associations to diversify their offerings. Embracing these innovative technologies within social housing can detect how people are using their accommodation and allow providers to alter services, such as heating, in real-time.
When used effectively, this technology can help housing associations to anticipate and handle issues faster, as well as be more proactive and strategic in commissioning repairs or replacements quicker in order to minimise costs and disruption.
4. Enhanced Customer Service
One of the most significant benefits that digitalisation has in the social housing sector is that customers will receive a better all-round service. Advice and help can be made available 24 hours a day, seven days a week with the help of a knowledge base and online account information that is always accessible.
The digital transformation of the housing industry will allow most actions to be completed online, meaning customers have no restrictions on when they can resolve their issues or speak with the correct department. Housing association workers will also be able to provide a better service to customers by spending more time out in their neighbourhoods offering a face to face service as opposed to stuck behind their computer screens.
5. Data Analysis and Record Keeping
In a world of GDPR, there are some real benefits to those within the social housing sector making a move to keep all customer data and records online as opposed to offline. A well planned online infrastructure can provide greater security for keeping online records safe and secure.
Utilising digital technologies for customer data is also an excellent opportunity for better data analysis and upkeep. Maintaining customer records online allows them to access and edit them as required, providing housing associations with current information that is easy and simple to manage.
How to embrace these digital trends
Embracing the digital transformation of social housing will bring significant efficiencies, financial stability and customer engagement. Currently, the social housing sector is being squeezed by reduced investments, funding cuts and rent freezes. At the same time, there is a growing demand from increasingly vulnerable and diverse citizens. Those housing associations that want to thrive rather than simply survive should be utilising and embracing digital solutions to transform their organisation for the better.
To help your housing organisation transform, speak to our IT specialists at Cyan Solutions. We can help your team to implement a digital strategy that can cut costs and increase the service experience.