With the introduction of welfare reforms, most housing providers are reporting an increase in queries from tenants wanting to know how the changes will affect them, adding to the workloads of customer service teams.
Axonex has reported on how more than 40 housing providers in the UK are using Enghouse Interactive’s technology to stream, prioritise and resolve tenants’ queries during the first point of contact. One customer, Devon and Cornwall Housing Group, said, “We can communicate flexibly with our tenants using their preferred channel, which can now also include email and SMS. This new system is amazing – it’s a business-changing piece of kit.”
In order to reduce the impact of welfare reform and universal credit on front-line services, Axonex has suggested a four-point plan:
- Offer personalised or VIP services – Make sure that tenants’ calls are directed to the person they spoke to previously, and if your lines are busy, offer a call-back option to reduce tenant effort and frustration.
- Connect with tenants their way – Give them the widest possible choice of communications channels, and consider profiling tenants and use this to tailor the services you offer, for example directing elderly callers to team members with better listening skills.
- Keep your agents informed – Make sure that when tenants contact you, your agents have the right information at their fingertips, such as ‘screenpops’ to flag any outstanding actions or concerns. As Bron Afon Housing said, “Having information on tenants displayed directly on the screen is vital in communicating with them and resolving queries quickly.”
- Tracking and performance – Track your tenants’ requests and record calls so they can be used for staff training and improve services as well as resolve customer disputes. And by measuring call length, how quickly the call was answered, and how well each agent is performing can help to make informed decisions in real time. As reported by Richmond Housing Partnership, “Having the call centre gave us that ability to track performance and to deliver a better and more joined up service to our customers.”