As part of its ‘digital first’ strategy, Halton Housing Trust has introduced 1st Touch mobile software and developed a new tenant self-service app.
Halton Housing originally chose 1st Touch as their mobile technology provider for its responsive repairs operations due to 1st Touch’s close integration with the housing provider’s Aareon QL housing management system, with information being passed to and from each application in real time.
This proved popular with Halton Housing’s maintenance technicians too because they no longer need to return to base as frequently, as their jobs are sent directly to their mobile devices. It is also well suited to rural areas with a poor mobile signal as the system’s Smart Airtime feature sends encrypted information in small bursts as soon as there is a signal.
Carole Galsworthy, director of ICT and business improvement, Halton Housing Trust, said, “In addition to our responsive repairs team, we extended 1st Touch mobile working to our arrears management team, neighbourhood team, tenancy support and our ASBO officers. In all there are currently over 50 mobile users with more to follow as we add other service areas.”
One part of Halton Housing’s ‘digital first’ programme is to have 90 per cent of its tenants accessing services online by 2018. To achieve this, Halton Housing decided to build a tenant self-service app with 1st Touch that covered all of its main services and was able to update information in real time both for tenants and in its back office systems.
For example, tenants can request a repair, report anti-social behaviour or estate issues such as graffiti or fly-tipping and it allows them to send in related photos too. They can also order a gas service, a gas repair or report a gas leak. They can also request a move or transfer, check their rent balance and much more.
Galsworthy said, “Our tenant self-service app contains a tremendous amount of information and all the forms that tenants might need to use. Tenants simply enter the relevant information and the system logs a contact in our CRM system and kicks off the appropriate workflow to the relevant person and confirms to the tenant that their query is being dealt with.
“One of the main benefits of 1st Touch is that all the information entered by tenants is automatically updated in Aareon QL in real time. This level of delivery and seamless integration with Aareon QL is a real plus.”
Halton Housing said that the main aim of introducing the tenant app and other aspects of its ‘digital first’ strategy was to ensure that welfare reform changes and particularly the introduction of universal credit would have a net-nil impact on it in terms of costs and resources. For example, the self-service app allows Halton Housing to free up resources that can be re-directed and re-focused to delivering additional support to its most vulnerable tenants.
Galsworthy said, “Our ‘digital first’ programme had a number of key objectives, but it was a blank piece of paper in terms of designing a tenant app. 1st Touch helped us to design and build this and it is a first-rate system that will not only transform what we do but will also add a new dimension to the tenant experience we deliver.
“1st Touch took the time to listen and understand what we needed and worked with us on delivering a highly effective solution which is all the more impressive because of the real time integration to Aareon QL and the automation of CRM contacts and colleague workflows.”