Social Housing – how to cost effectively improve customer service - Part 2

29th Aug, 2014
Read time: 2 minutes

At our recent Housing Association event, delegates reported an increase in the number of tenants using Twitter and Facebook, and they were concerned about how to equip their agents to respond appropriately to this demand. ContactBabel confirms that social media is anticipated to account for 2.5% of interactions for most contact centres.


With this low percentage we need to ask if social media is really a problem for contact centres? During a recent Netcall PPF and Sentiment Metrics webinar delegates predicted that by 2015, 94% would need to respond to Twitter. The unplanned, uncontrollable public nature of social media means preventing a crisis is on every senior executive's to-do list.

Responding to Social Media

Social media increasingly impacts housing associations, as tenants tweet, post on Facebook and LinkedIn or send pictures via Instagram. In many organisations social media has typically been seen as the responsibility of the PR and Marketing departments which has led to customer service confusion when:

  • Customer service queries are handled by the wrong team
  • PR and Marketing departments are not always available 24 hours a day
  • Incorrect responses can lead to more follow-up queries


An objective reflection on your organisation's current position, together with understanding your future goals, will assist you in understanding how to match any investment in time, people or systems, and deliver the desired outcome. Below is a summary of best practice tips for managing social media:

  • Have a clear vision for the future, set realistic goals of what you want to achieve from social media
  • Consider the time required for administration and reporting - using a single, fully-integrated solution will optimise time efficiencies
  • Automate wherever possible, this will really help in peak periods
  • Boost agent productivity by integrating social media responses within an agent's current workload.

Priority should be given to real-time demand

Phone calls and web chat are in real-time, so loss of service results in increased abandonment rates and increased contact through other means. Email and social media can be treated as non-demand or near real-time. Does your current solution provide skills-based routing and queue prioritisation to optimise service, and support agents to effectively deal with both traditional and new channels?

Case management

Do you know what the tenant said last time they contacted you? Joining up multiple systems enables more effective control over each case and its management. Automated process-flows ensure that the required items are completed. Have you studied your processes? Are there process steps available to be automated, and might small improvements add significant efficiencies to ensure tasks are completed?

Clarifying, agreeing and determining the organisation's multichannel goals will enable the housing association Contact Centre Manager to respond effectively and proactively to changing contact demand.

Research confirms that voice and email will continue to dominate the workload. The pressure on calls can be reduced when an organisation uses social media to broadcast information to a wide audience. Providing updates and answering common questions can occur in real-time and often results in powerful call deflection, reducing unnecessary load on the contact centre. Positive responses on social media reinforce a brand's perception.

Stay tuned for our final part in this Housing Association series where we will discuss your concerns around channel shift. You can view the first part of this series here.

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