There is a government-led drive for social housing providers to build more homes as a way to provide housing for those in need and for those taking the first step on the ladder towards home ownership. But with private rentals having a better reputation for customer service, housing providers must improve the quality and safety of their homes and handle complaints and problems better.
One way that housing providers can improve communications is to create a single, joined-up view of their tenants which is accessible to all relevant members of staff and the tenants themselves. Not only will this improve efficiency, it will also improve tenant satisfaction by speeding up repairs and complaints. Housing providers will also be able to offer better services and advice by compiling data from several sources; by connecting different departments and then connecting that data with each tenant, it ensures transparency and accountability, and improves the overall quality of communications.
For most housing providers, their various departments tend to work separately and each have their own view of the tenants. While tenants can often access their personal details, payments, repair reports and complaint records via a self-service portal, other internal roles don’t have access to all of this information. For example, responsive repair engineers have access to repair reports, tenant contact details/location and personal alerts while contact centre agents can view inbound enquiries, vulnerable tenant information, and complaints records. These separate views can lead to confusion, delays and unhappy tenants, but how can they all be connected to involve the customer?
Bringing the data together
While tenant data could be stored in Dynamics 365, Microsoft’s Power Platform is the key to truly transforming the data to create a single view of each tenant.
Power Automate’s workflows are a low-code/no-code way of automating processes to save time and effort. With the opportunity to integrate into hundreds of connectors, time-consuming tasks are streamlined. These workflows can be used to automatically bring tenant data from various sources into one place without having to manually input data. This acts as a back-end workflow engine, allowing teams in any area to automate their processes using robotic process automation (RPA).
Power Automate’s RPA capability brings tenant data together from legacy systems by using low-code automation. By saving time that would be otherwise spent on time-consuming, mundane tasks, housing providers have more time to support tenants.
Data is stored in Microsoft’s Common Data Service, which can be accessed through the Power Platform product range and Dynamics 365. The tenant data can be loaded into the accessible data layer and extracted through various channels. In short, Common Data Service is a database system to store and retrieve information, which is easy to use and free for those already paying for Power Apps.
Alongside Power Automate and RPA, Azure Logic Apps also helps to schedule, automate and streamline tasks and processes. Logic Apps also connects disparate systems (on-premise and cloud) to centralise data. While Power Automate provides a similar outcome from its automating processes, Microsoft recommends that a combination of solutions results in optimum data integration.
Now you have Power Automate, RPA and Logic Apps to consolidate data, by connecting to hundreds of Microsoft and non-Microsoft services, custom connectors can be used to link to alternative services that aren’t pre-built. Custom solutions can be built and shared, each with its own triggers and actions. This ensures all tenant data can be merged and streamlined, so nothing is missed out.
A single view of the customer is essential to providing optimum customer service. Microsoft provides several solutions to reach this goal, which can be used together for complete integration or separately to take a step towards combined tenant data.
Jordan Wheat is a new business consultant at Crimson.