Birmingham City Council is transforming the way it delivers services to new tenants as part of its approach to get people ready for the introduction of the government’s welfare changes and the accompanying digital-by-default agenda.
The first objective was to ‘channel shift’ people from face-to-face meetings and telephone calls to online using a digital-by-default approach and to help them to self-serve. The second was to improve the customer journey for new tenants by introducing letting suites (a one-stop shop for all housing issues) and providing them with their own personalised portal, known as the digital log book, that would help them to manage and sustain their tenancy.
The council reviewed the entire new tenant journey from initial point of application to 12 weeks after they had obtained their tenancy, with a view to creating what it understood to be the ‘perfect’ housing tenant. This approach led to the council creating a ‘gateways of influence model’ that analysed at specific points within the customer journey how it could change, nudge and influence people’s behaviour to do what it wanted.
At each point within the customer journey, tenants were required to undertake all the tasks through their digital log book. This not only enabled tenants to self-serve, but also helped them by providing a single source of information to enable them manage and sustain their tenancy.
The council reported that it had already saved £138,000 through self-serve and online applications instead of using the contact centre, £74,000 by putting tenancy handbooks online. At the same time, the council has found more than £25 million of benefits that some of its tenants are entitled to but are not claiming.