South Lakes Housing has completed the implementation of a broad suite of Civica software, including Cx for CRM and housing management and Keystone for asset management.
When South Lakes Housing (SLH) took over management of more than 3,000 homes from South Lakeland District Council, it promised to bring all of them up to the Decent Homes Standard, and did so by March 2017 following a £54m improvement programme.
Paul Aitken, IT manager, South Lakes Housing, said, “As well as improving homes, we promised to improve customer service for our tenants. When tenants rang up, they were often passed around departments or had to wait for a call back; it was frustrating for them and inefficient for us.”
SLH decided to set up a customer services team to answer more enquiries at the first point of contact, based on the use of a new CRM system integrated with its existing housing management system.
However, after realising that integrating SLH’s housing management system with a CRM system would be difficult and expensive, SLH’s project team changed tack and started looking for a replacement housing management system with built-in CRM capability.
Aitken said, “Civica Cx fitted the bill perfectly. It gives our customer service staff the all-round view of tenant and property information that enables them to handle most requests and enquiries during the initial call.
“Doing everything in Cx saves a couple of minutes per call, so we can handle more requests. And because staff can see each tenant’s full history, they can cover other topics during each call, such as rent arrears.”
SLH’s 20 tenancy management officers, income officers and customer service staff can also review tenant and property data on their mobile devices during inspections, and add new information and photos on the spot.
Although implementing Civica Cx had delivered significant benefits, SLH wanted to go further. As well as being dissatisfied with the data reliability of SLH’s previous asset management system, they knew it was inefficient to continue using separate systems for tasks such as boiler service scheduling.
As a next step, SLH implemented Civica Keystone, an asset management system with modules ranging from equipment servicing and inspections to fire risk management. Keystone was integrated with Cx; information in Keystone, such as scheduled servicing dates, can now be accessed directly from Cx.
Aitken said, “Now that we’ve integrated Keystone with Cx, our customer service team can see and do more using fewer systems, and be confident they’re giving tenants accurate, up-to-date information.”
SLH is now increasing its use of digital communications, aiming to save around half of its £50,000 annual spending on print and post. Using Cx’s interactive tenant portal, it is publishing rent statements, arrears notices and repair appointments online, and alerting tenants by email or text.
Civica Cx works seamlessly with a range of other applications at SLH, including finance systems and payment platforms. It’s also integrated with Civica Abritas, the choice-based lettings system, so information applicants enter into Abritas transfers automatically to Cx when they become SLH tenants.
SLH is now trialling Cx’s predictive analytics to reduce rent arrears, with the aim of increasing its collection rates to 100 per cent, while saving almost £30,000 from the annual licensing fees for its current predictive rent arrears software.