Data completeness is often overlooked in the realm of the six data quality dimensions (accuracy, completeness, consistency, timeliness, validity and uniqueness), a good example being tenant engagement within social housing.
While housing providers express a desire to increase tenant participation rates, promote inclusivity and diversity, and empower tenants in the design and delivery of services, there is a glaring absence of data regarding current engagement rates, targets for improvement, and information on engagement inclusivity and diversity.
Understanding engagement gaps
As the saying goes, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”. The current engagement model used by housing providers often relies on a small number of tenant representatives attending scrutiny panels, service-design workshops and other in-person events, combined with some digital customer insight and sentiment analysis. The problem is that, in many cases, we’re often hearing the voice of the few, not the many, resulting in potential biases and skewed perspectives which aren’t representative of the wider tenant population.
Measuring inclusivity & diversity
Measuring the effectiveness of engagement activities via a data-driven approach is vital for ensuring inclusivity. Again, we are back to data completeness; without a benchmark of engagement inclusivity, housing providers can’t identify the gaps and tailor their plans accordingly. This data collection should also evaluate different engagement channels and their effectiveness in engaging specific tenant segments.
Measuring the effectiveness of the engagement content itself is essential to personalise the tenant experience. This ensures that tenants receive information that is relevant and meaningful to them, increasing their likelihood of participating in related activities.
Adopting a data-driven framework
To drive tenant engagement and inclusivity, it’s crucial to implement a data-driven framework with measurable targets. As a minimum, this should measure your current engagement rates (incl. digital and in-person) and depth of engagement with inclusivity by-design embedded within the process. For example, the Engage-Me framework is based on Rosenblatt’s Engagement Pyramid; this represents different levels and types of engagement, where the intensity of engagement increases as the number of required tenants decreases. The minimum objective for all housing providers should be that all tenants are at least aware of the engagement opportunities available to them.
However, what percentage of a housing provider’s tenants are ‘aware’? The typical answer is that we don’t know because we don’t have the data, and the same goes for inclusivity of tenant engagement.
Continuing the behavioural approach to engagement, it relies on interventions which change behaviour to increase desirable outcomes or reduce undesirable ones by breaking down engagement barriers.
However, it’s underpinned by specific, singular and measurable outcomes; in short, we are back to capturing and measuring impacts through data. If you don’t have a platform which can measure the impact of engagement interventions, can compare different interventions through A/B testing and can provide you with the key data insights to determine what’s working for which segment via which channel, your success will be limited.
Turning our minds to AI and machine learning for a moment, many housing providers are now looking at these technologies. These technologies are data-driven so if the data is incomplete or non-existent, the benefits of these technologies will be diluted.
Data black holes
We often think of data quality in terms of accuracy, consistency and validity. With tenant engagement, we need to think in terms of data completeness. While tenant participation and influence are often cited as a key objective, we are often still only hearing the voices of the few.
If housing providers want to be genuinely inclusive and serve their communities, they need to start engaging at scale and this will require them to invest in technology which treats tenant engagement as a journey not an event. Personalisation should be at the heart of any such technology and it should blend in-person and digital engagement based on tenant preferences. With that in mind, now might be the time for housing providers to think about plugging their black holes of engagement data.
Garry Sneddon is the CEO of Engage-Me.