16th June 2022

Keeping communities together during times of change

In almost every walk of life, the pace of technological change in the last few years has been dramatic:  Lockdowns undoubtedly accelerated many organisations’ plans for ‘digital first’ operations, but the longer-term impacts on society, and on our individual behaviours are becoming clear.

And while in many sectors all this change has been welcomed with open arms, in others, it can threaten to leave people behind, disrupt support systems and isolate those in need of help.

Preventing a digital divide

While web portals and maintenance request applications undoubtedly have a strong role to play in the current and future relationships between housing associations and their tenants, one of their shortcomings is that certain members of the community – often those in most need of support – are simply unable to use them – lack of access to technology, lack of IT / web literacy, or disabilities can all prevent tenants from accessing these platforms, potentially causing a “digital divide” when it comes not just to their customer experience, but more deeply, around the quality of support they have access to.

There’s life in ‘old’ channels yet

Contact centre’ sometimes gets a raw deal when it comes to investment priorities, and while there is an undoubted channel shift across the sector, the central importance of telephony as a means of critical communication both with customers and tenants, and between internal stakeholders still remains. 

Studies have shown time and again that, even when other options are available, people will still pick up the phone when an issue is urgent or complex. That means that, while you may be getting fewer calls, those you are getting are likely to be of greater urgency, and take more skill, to resolve than enquiries through other channels.

Managing and monitoring cross-channel comms

This is where CCaaS comes into its own:  cloud-based telephony takes all the benefits of the traditional contact centre and removes the legacy pain points many associate with it: engaged tones and ‘dumb’ recorded messages are replaced with intelligent routing and IVR that enables self-service or switches to alternative channels that enable the right response to be given to every interaction.

What’s more, by integrating front-and back-office, you’re able to manage and monitor the quality of customer experience beyond the ‘coal-face’ agents through to individual lines of business, ensuring compliance, addressing inefficiencies, and sharing contextual information about a tenant or property to inform faster issue resolution. For those aforementioned members of the community who may be left behind by rapid channel shift – and indeed for many who simply want a human interaction – these changes can be just as transformative as any web portal. And that is not something to be ignored.

Here at AdEPT, we work with Housing Associations at various levels, from the boardroom, through operations and customer service, to field staff, ensure that telephony is still able to fulfil its role as a central part of both internal and external communications. We do that by harnessing the very best in breed cloud comms platforms, which can often be implemented without the need to rip and replace existing hardware. To find out how we can do the same for you, while improving customer experience and internal efficiencies, talk to us via the number at the bottom of this web page.

Written by Ben Rogers

Group Marketing Manager at AdEPT