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The digital transformation of housing associations has shifted massively over the last few years. Tenant expectations are also changing just as quickly, so it can feel like a minefield for housing associations to meet those expectations.

Housing associations can benefit greatly when moving to digital – from improving efficiency and accessibility for tenants to more effective communication across the company. 

We’ve worked with many housing associations to create the right solutions and achieve results: Yorkshire Housing, United Welsh, Bron Afon and Oval Village to name just a few. This has led to better tenant experience, increased job satisfaction for staff and savings that demonstrate value for money. No matter which result you want to achieve, our friendly team at Spindogs can help you along every step of the way.

However, the Digital by Default Survey (2016) highlighted ⅓ of housing providers have no formal digital inclusion strategy, with only a quarter of tenants ‘fully included’. So what’s stopping housing associations from making upgrades? And what are the digital challenges housing associations are facing?

Digital divide

The digital divide – exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic – means the most vulnerable and digitally illiterate customers could be disadvantaged if housing associations make a digital shift.

Concerns about accessibility are legitimate, but there are areas where traditional methods fall short and digital processes can help – including 24/7 chatbots in different languages helping a diverse range of tenants.

A digital and traditional hybrid model ensures the vulnerable aren’t left behind, and a thorough digital marketing strategy can help support those concerned about the move – reducing the divide as long as the infrastructure is in place.

housing associations

Fear of failure

A fear of failure can stop housing associations from taking steps to improve their digital systems. What if uptake is low? What if the systems fail? Will it be a waste of money?

Without robust support, things could go wrong and result in more problems and slower processes than before – not to mention extra cost.

A digital shift has the potential to transform the experience of tenants, suppliers and contractors, but requires understanding and investment – which can be overwhelming if tackling alone.

Slow moving IT systems

Without investment and understanding, IT systems can work slowly – putting housing associations, contractors and tenants off of using them.

In fact, 25% of housing associations say they use six systems or more to manage processes – a digital shift moves these to one place to improve efficiency. Only ¼ of tenants are fully using digital systems, with 50% of tenants not digitally included at all.

It’s easy to assume the low uptake of tenants means investment would be a waste of money – but our client Linc Cymru found investing in efficient IT systems seized more opportunities for growth.

Fast moving technology and digital commitment

Technology – like tenant expectations – is always changing, meaning greater pressure on housing associations to ensure the digital shift stands the test of time.

Committing to a digital shift isn’t simply building a website – it’s automation; social media integration; improved customer services; data analysis; and record keeping. All of these things help towards the main goal, to meet the expectations of tenants.

A cohesive digital marketing strategy and a robust, dynamic content management system are some of the steps we provide to make the transition smooth.

How can we help?

Spindogs understands the importance of the client’s audience – the tenants. We know that housing associations know tenants best, but we’re here to lend an ear and listen to you to get digital right.

Our previous clients include Yorkshire Housing, Bron Afon, United Welsh and more. For Bron Afon, we created a more efficient customer service experience, so tenants could easily access services to pay rent, bills and keep track of accounts. To do this, our web designers and developers created a personalised website to allow for better user experience.

Our free Housing Association whitepaper offers a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities you have for moving forward in a digital world. Become a Housing Digital Champion.

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How can we help?