Looking Local’s communications manager, Jane Hancer, explains how delivering multi-channel customer services is no longer a ‘nice to have’ and it’s not just for housing providers that can afford to take digital inclusion seriously.
Despite the increased competition for our attention, TV viewing in the UK continues to rise, from an average of 3.7 hours per person per day in 2012 to over 4 hours in 2013, outstripping all other forms of digital communication as the preferred way of viewing content.
Jane Rumble, Ofcom’s head of media research, said, “There are a number of factors that are fuelling this increase, one of which is that we’re coming into our living rooms today clutching smartphones and tablets – providing a range of opportunities to do things while we’re also watching television.”
Ofcom also reported that more than 50 per cent of adults now use a smartphone (up from 27 per cent two years ago) and the average household owns more than three devices capable of connecting to the internet. So multi-channel access is more relevant than ever due to the sheer number of devices, the different access routes people have, and the fact that people want to access the same service on a variety of channels, thus channels need to be compatible, connected and interoperable.
Looking Local, which is a technology owned by the public sector, has been delivering housing and wider public-sector services on a range of channels and devices for ten years. And this vision to develop technologies able to exploit this mix of platforms is now coming of age, enabling housing providers to deliver services on a range of channels without needing to manage them all internally.
Around 40 housing providers use TV, social networks, mobile, games consoles and the ‘My Landlord’ app to widen access to housing repairs to their tenants. For example, AmicusHorizon uses this range of channel access to deliver its services to great effect. Indeed, it was the addition of the My Landlord app and its integrated web management portal that made a real impact in the last year.
Sean Wijesiri, digital services manager, AmicusHorizon, said, “The My Landlord app gives residents a simple way to report any repair using the one device they keep with them at all times – a smartphone. The app is free for residents to download and very simple to use. All they have to do to report a repair is take a photo, write a short description of the problem, type their contact details, availability and submit.
“The application provides a simple solution for the operative. It’s fantastic as not only does it have a picture, the detail and the tenant’s availability, but it also allows us to see every single comment the tenant said and exactly how the operative replied; there is no confusion. As such, My Landlord is an actual communications platform rather than an email that has to be managed. Best of all, it is very convenient for residents because it’s available on multiple platforms.”
Over the past year Amicus Horizon has realised a range of benefits from Looking Local and its integration with other back-end systems, such as improved resident engagement, more mature performance analysis and scrutiny, and significant per-transaction savings.
Delivering multi-channel customer services is no longer a ‘nice to have’ and it’s not just for housing providers that can afford to take digital inclusion seriously. Organisations that fail to adopt a multi-channel approach will be unable to deliver the savings needed by the sector or that technology affords, while assuring the levels of service expected by tenants.
Jane Hancer is the communications manager for Looking Local.