Housing Solutions knew they wanted to start getting their tenants more accustomed to digital means of communication – what better way than an automated chatbot? We used our experience of building chatbots across different sectors to help our client Housing Solutions create the right channel for their specific needs.
We’re an impatient bunch nowadays – we want and expect results as soon as possible, with 90% of consumers expecting an ‘immediate’ response if they have a customer service issue. Customers want help and they want it now? This isn’t new information, but the ways in which we can meet these pretty tight SLAs has improved with new technology.
The housing sector, in particular, has somewhat struggled to keep up with this progress, with resource and budgets already stretched. Many associations have identified the need for providing digital services as a channel of choice for customers - with some moving faster than others.
How can housing associations meet the 24/7 demands of their residents, whilst still strengthening that crucial tenant-landlord relationship? Because as much as we expect answers quickly, 59% of customers value being treated like an individual human being more.
So, what’s the solution?
Having worked with Housing Solutions for a number of years, we’ve launched loads of innovative projects together to drive digital transformation and give tenants more control over day-to-day tenancy tasks.
We knew exactly what the next addition had to be: a chatbot.
It made perfect sense – a chatbot can be custom-built and designed to meet the specific needs of tenants, with initial development and ongoing iterations to make it feel on-brand and personable. The benefits of adding a bot to your website are plentiful – they’re always on, ready to problem-solve and fact-find at any time of day. Our wealth of experience in conversational marketing means we could provide expert consultancy to make sure it asks all the right questions to give tenants the right answers.
“For us, a chatbot was the option that we felt would help ease our customers into using our digital services in a simple and user-friendly way. With more and more customers starting to use our customer portal, having a chatbot to methodically walk our customers through any queries whilst providing access to information quickly and efficiently made perfect sense.”
Richard Harvey, Head of Digital & Information Services at Housing Solutions
What does the chatbot do for Housing Solutions?
The chatbot replaced Housing Solution’s previous live chat function, able to handle all of those routine enquiries and as a result, free up valuable time from the contact centre to be better utilised elsewhere. Tenants can triage and solve enquiries online, with the bot designed to find a web-based solution wherever possible before handing over to a live agent or leaving a message if no one is available.
The conversation is human-like and friendly, with logical triggers in place and key automation paths built-in to make the process as quick and easy as possible for the end-user. It has been deployed across all areas of the website and works on mobile, too, giving the tenant the power to resolve common queries like ‘How to pay my rent’ and ‘How to report a repair’ themselves without the need to phone the contact centre.
Stephen Brennan, Digital Platform Specialist at Prodo, said, “When starting initial discussions with Housing Solutions, we understood their need to deliver a high level of service to their growing community. To help their internal support team and offer 24/7 service, Prodo implemented a chatbot. The bot has been carefully developed to work cooperatively with the in-house team by qualifying queries and handing off to a live agent when required, matching Housing Solutions’ core values. The goal of the bot is to deliver relevant and timely information where possible and lower the demands on staff, allowing for better resource allocation where it’s needed most.”
In the longer term, we’ve got big plans to develop the bot even further with Housing Solutions – using data analysis and artificial intelligence to improve its ability to support more complex processes, like tenancy applications, property searches and new tenancy onboarding. These kinds of tasks will transform the lives of tenants whilst driving forward operational efficiencies – and we’re only just getting started…