Running as a pilot project in Leicester, Asra Housing Group has given iPads to all of its housing and income officers, with firm instructions to get out onto the streets and deal with customers’ complaints and comments face-to-face.
Sally-Anne Underhill, who is in charge of the mobile working project at Asra Housing, said, “It is too easy to become desk-bound when the phone never stops ringing and the emails keep pinging into your inbox. And we have listened to our tenants, who told us that they would like to see our housing and income officers working on the ground on our estates.
“We are already seeing some great results. These include faster and more consistent handling of enquiries, reduced paperwork, less travel for staff and increased tenant satisfaction.”
One year after the project was first piloted in Leicester, staff feedback shows that people are spending 59 per cent of their time with their customers, compared with only 22 per cent before the pilot began. Furthermore, Asra Housing’s income and housing teams are only spending 6 per cent of their time in the office now that they have the mobile technology.
Kelly Kirby, one of Asra Housing’s Leicester-based housing officers, said, “I’m really enjoying mobile working and I can already see that customers are getting a quicker and more personable response to their queries. For example, if a tenant wants to see how much rent they owe, I can show them there and then. I can also log antisocial behaviour issues, whereas before I would have had to go back to the office to do so.
“The best thing is that we’re out and about and I get a chance to talk to lots of customers face-to-face every day. Often, if someone has called our call centre and logged an enquiry, I’ll go straight to their door to see them rather than picking up the phone.”
The success of the first phase of the project has led to the technology also being rolled out across Asra Housing’s allocations and maintenance teams to increase efficiency. Asra Housing has also implemented a new document management system so that housing and income officers can access information through their iPads instead of having to return to the office.
Underhill said, “This is great news for tenants. It means our housing officers can visit them at home and deal with their issues there and then, rather than tenants having to wait for us to return to the office to process the issue. We can give them answers and advice on the ground, face-to-face.”
This is a revised version of the news item first published in the previous issue of Housing Technology.