Social Housing – how to cost effectively improve customer service

22nd Aug, 2014
Read time: 2 minutes

Research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation confirms that the affordable housing sector is experiencing a period of rapid change. Universal Credit and continued recessionary pressures impact the resources and finances of social landlords. The deployment of automation, self-service or use of intelligent handheld devices out in the field to promote end-to-end resolution for as many traditional transactions as possible, is increasingly important. As a key supplier to housing, Netcall is deeply committed to delivering effective housing solutions. We recently hosted a Housing Association event where the delegates debated some pressing concerns such as social media and channel shift, and the risks of implementing new technology.

In this three part series we will discuss the top 11 concerns raised at our recent event, and recommendations from our solutions architects;

1. Changing customer demand

ContactBabel reports that multichannel, social and web chat are all predicted to grow significantly in the next three years. The need to meet this changing customer demand has resulted in them being top investment priorities for many contact centres in the next three years.


The changing use patterns affect housing associations as tenants using smart phones and tablets expect to be able to contact their housing association at any time, using multiple channels, but there are costs to multichannel responses and, more worryingly, there is the potential for information to be lost between channels which results in a "broken journey", increasing the cost of query resolution.

When planning efficient communications that provide a first contact response, housing associations should consider the following;

2. Voice and email will continue to dominate the workload

The majority of tenants' communication will continue to be by phone or email. Do you evaluate agents' verbal and written skills to ensure that they are suited for the channels with which they are working? Agent writing skills for emails differ greatly from those skills needed when writing a 140 characters tweet or using instant answers for web chat. It is important you consider providing training or only using suitably skilled agents. It is worth remembering that any written answer becomes a permanent record which can be published, so also consider providing a knowledge base of standardised answers and a format guide for written communications to help your agents.

3. A universal queue, delivering multiple benefits

A fully-integrated contact management system, often referred to as a universal queue, reduces the number of desktop applications an agent is required to access. This in turn improves accuracy and response times, while increasing customer satisfaction. It also delivers detailed reporting, enabling contact centre managers to make rapid, informed and proactive decisions. Are you able to provide alerts to managers, and use a multichannel dashboard to keep agents and supervisors informed and motivated?

4. Helping to deliver efficiencies

By giving agents the ability to see the transaction from end-to-end, from the first contact on any media within a single agent console, they are informed from wherever they are working and can be empowered to rapidly answer tenant queries. The team productivity is further enhanced if the contact is then incorporated with the case management system and workflows are automatically generated, which removes wasted time and effort.

Stay tuned for part 2 in our Housing Association series where we will tackle your concerns around your tenants' use of social media.

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