Peter Graddon, Director of Omfax Systems, discusses customer service solutions for the social housing sector.
The budget proved that housing is higher up political agenda than ever before. The need for more affordable homes is rapacious; the budget committed to building 300,000 homes a year by the mid 2020s. However, it is unlikely that supply will ever meet demand for affordable homes. The much-vaunted target of 1m homes by 2020 is seemingly a long way off.
Against this landscape, we are in the midst of a customer service revolution in social housing, with the development of online self-service, coupled with the power of social media. Most social housing providers have a customer services function but can sometimes lack true commitment to the real principle of the tenant as a customer. Customer care and customer service should be integral to the whole ethos and operation of social landlords.
Tenants and residents face many financial challenges; with the roll-out of Universal Credit, reductions and caps to benefits, austerity cuts to services, fuel poverty, pre-Christmas and January debt and the real threat of homelessness. At Omfax, we are clear that our work is about customer service. We look to help our clients to empower residents with their own self-service options with ‘Keyfax Inter•View Online’. Residents can access the services they need 24/7, with the Keyfax technology acting as an enabler, empowering residents to report a repair, enquire about a tenancy, make a complaint or place a service request.
The Omfax solution is multi-faceted, with ‘Keyfax Inter•View’ also supporting customer service advisors to deal with customer enquiries at the first point of contact. Most significantly, Keyfax enables customers to be treated as individuals, as a person, with a known history of past dealings and where the relationship matters, using call flow intelligence to inform the conversations. Advisors can confidently organise service responses as required, with guidance from qualified technical and social housing specialists available at their fingertips.