How can Housing Associations improve customer satisfaction, on-the go and collaborative working, and decision making? Read on to find out.

While tenants have embraced the huge shift in technological advancements in recent years, generally Housing Associations have not. Tenants rely on technology and expect, from any company they interact with, multi-channel, self-service communication methods that are available 24/7. This “everything, everywhere” approach to customer relations can be difficult to achieve without a planned approach to digital transformation.

A digital transformation means pairing the right technology with the right processes to enable staff to work far more efficiently and deliver outstanding customer service. It means finding a way of meeting your business goals using IT and technology. For Housing Associations this could look like the following:

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Here are the top four challenges with technology that Housing Associations are currently facing and, most importantly, how to solve them:

1. Multiple IT systems that are disparate, costly to maintain, and difficult to manage

Problem: Mergers and collaboration between Housing Associations (HA’s) have created siloes of data that are impossible to combine and use effectively. HA’s have typically invested in a significant number of legacy IT systems to complete individual tasks, including Customer Relation Management (CRM), Housing Management, Human Resource (HR), Workforce Management, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Asset Management and Business Intelligence (BI) systems. This can be very costly and requires a lot of manual work.

Fix: Your organisation will benefit from mapping out and optimising your organisation’s architecture and processes. Legacy systems need to be replaced with a full end-to-end solution that works seamlessly. This gives you a full, 360-degree view of customers – not a siloed view per business system. You can deliver excellent, proactive customer service, and make better-informed decisions based on facts and data. IT strategies that provide value for money keep costs down and regulators happy.

2. On-the-go or collaborative working is difficult

Problem: Current ways of working are inflexible, tied to being in the office, and don’t promote collaborative teamwork. Many tenancy officers, enforcers and community project workers are out of the office a lot but aren’t given the proper tools to work on the go. Telephony systems are expensive, inflexible, and don’t allow for easy hotdesking.

Fix: Modern cloud-hosted office productivity solutions such as Microsoft Office 365 offer better collaborative work with documents that can be worked on by anyone, from anywhere, on any device. The cloud also offers new ways of working – in the field, from home, or hot desking. Everyone has access to IT and telephony services via their smartphones, tablets or laptops. Employees are more available to co-workers and customers, which improves communication. Any documents and notes made on the field are automatically uploaded to a centralised source for everyone to access, and don’t need to be manually inputted when staff are back in the office.

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3. IT infrastructure isn’t agile or responsive to business needs

Problem: Many Housing Associations still use on-premise infrastructure with high, fixed costs and that can’t support a highly mobile workforce. It doesn’t promote business growth and can actually hinder it. Central systems are hosted on-premise which means they are protected from a breach only by a lock on the door.

Fix: Cloud infrastructure (which is the virtualisation of your IT estate by securely hosting your files and data externally) works on a pay-as-you-use model that fluctuates based on demand, unlike on-premise infrastructure which always works on full power whether you need it or not. The cloud’s scalable flexibility means that when your business grows, your IT infrastructure effortlessly grows with you.

4. Tenants don’t receive the online, multi-channel service they expect

Problem: Communication is restricted to opening times and phone-only. Tenants expect online access to services 24/7 and, become frustrated without it. This lowers the levels of customer service received and creates more manual work for contact centre employees.

Fix: Websites and web portals allow online communication – anytime, anywhere. Crucially customer-facing sites need to be connected directly to CRM. This eradicates the need to duplicate data from enquiries and touch points, for a better understanding of what tenants want and who they are. Tenants have more control with self-service, omnichannel methods of interacting with Housing Associations. The added benefit is reduced costs and manual work from busy contact centres and a better service experience.

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If you’re suffering from any of the above problems, Microsoft Dynamics 365 could be the answer. Dynamics 365 is a platform of intelligent business applications that connect your people, data and products. It helps to transform the way you do business. It is a customisable solution to meet your needs for CRM, ERP, BI, HR, Field Service and much more.

Read our CRM for Housing Associations solution page.