Deliveroo, eBay and Uber are just a few of the organisations leading the way with exceptional, instant customer experiences. By giving customers control, reassurance and convenience these companies have built trust and brand loyalty during a time of uncertainty.
Consumers are becoming accustomed to Uber-style services with transparency and real-time reassurance. This standard of service has set the benchmark for all sectors and now customers are starting to demand the same experience from all organisations they engage with.
Applying Uber-style customer experiences to repair services in the housing sector not only benefits tenants but improves overall operational efficiency and saves costs. Ian Stewart, commercial sales manager, Castleton Technology, said, “With an industry average of 15 per cent no-access failed appointments and each failed appointment costing around £65, it’s vital for housing providers and contractors to reduce the time wasted and costs of these failed appointments to improve services for tenants.”
Our advice on the key steps to ensure frictionless appointment-based experiences in the housing sector:
1. Be digitally available
It’s vital that service providers are available and visible on a variety of platforms – telephone, email, social media, online chat and mobile apps. It is important to continually review the channels your tenants are actually using and asking for so you spend time and effort in the right places. By making appointment bookings digital, the housing sector is set to ensure time and cost savings and increase the happiness of tenants using the service.
2. Inform and reassure
Research shows 65 per cent of consumers say that viewing their contractor’s ETA is the most important feature for a service provider. This is particularly important in the housing where the length of appointment windows vary greatly.
On the day of the appointment, give the tenant full details of the service, including the name and photo of the operative who’s due to arrive at their house. Provide the tenant with real-time location tracking so they know when to expect them. Not only important for vulnerable tenants, this detail of service is fast becoming a must in the age of ‘Uberization’.
For example, an ‘on my way’ real-time ETA notification with map tracking has seen no-access failed appointments drop by almost 20 per cent for British Gas using the Localz service.
3. Empower customers & operatives
Enabling two-way communications between the operative and the tenant removes friction, enabling important information to be passed between them with no need to join the call-centre queue. To avoid nervousness about sharing contact details, ensure communication channels use masked numbers and are deactivated once each job is complete.
4. Back-office transparency
As well as providing tenants with progress transparency, provide the same real-time insights for your colleagues in contact centres, planning, scheduling and so on. Having a history of locations visited has value, but the most useful information is the current location of each operative, where they are going next, and how long it will take them to get there. This dramatically speeds the process of answering customers who still call to query an ETA as well as supporting resource-allocation decisions.
5. Listen and encourage feedback
One of the key learnings from Uber is its request to rate your service at the end of each journey. Research has found that 40 per cent of customers want to provide feedback. Asking consumers to ‘rate’ and feedback on the service leads to them feeling important, cared for and, if you respond in the right manner, listened to. It’s no surprise that it’s also essential for improving your services.
By applying the above principles, a rare win-win-win can be achieved for all parties involved:
- Landlords and contractors make cost savings from better first-time access, fewer inbound calls and rapid query resolution. They also enjoy a great PR opportunity.
- Tenants are delighted by total service transparency and the ability to communicate direct with their assigned operatives. It frees up their time and reduces anxiety.
- Operatives find it makes their jobs easier and more productive, and they relax when they are reassured that they can’t be tracked and contacted by customers night and day. Operatives also find they are dealing with happier customers who haven’t been kept ‘in the dark’ all afternoon.
The expectation for Uber-style, frictionless service is there in the housing sector. Is your technology ready for it?
Paul Swannell is the sales director of Localz.