Within the housing sector, digital transformation is manifesting and progressing in so many different ways. In this article, we will delve into five-way in which technology is transforming the housing sector.
1. Virtual Viewings
After covid-19 struck a challenging time arose for the process of being able to view housing properties, whether it be to buy or rent. Property sites such as Rightmove had to adhere to social distancing guidelines, which they managed to do by introducing virtual tours. It now stands that over 10 thousand property agents have now added the online viewing option on their property listings on Rightmove.
Some housing providers such as Thames Valley Housing, have now taken it that step further with virtual reality. They now create virtual reality versions of their new homes, which allows them to sell their properties before they are even fully completed. Giving a full 360 tour of what the property will look like to any users interested.
2. Affordability Checks
The first thing that people want to know before they purchase a property, is if they can even afford it in the first place. Some housing companies such as Thames Valley have partnered with finance companies, to be able to introduce chatbots that provide people with affordability checks. Customers can then simply go online and enter all their information, which will then tell them in minutes whether or not they’d be able to afford it.
These chatbots have become such a rapid way of telling people whether or not the house their looking at is within their budget. Not to mention that it saves companies’ employees a lot do time, as they do not have to manually check all the applications themselves.
3. Repairs and Maintenance
Back in 2018 customer satisfaction levels dripped, this was due to issues with services regarding housing issues and maintenance services. New digital platforms were then created, which now allow residents to be about to log any queries, report any repairs and even check their rent balance online.
For companies such as Notting Hill Genesis, who create Workwise, this helped to target their customer satisfaction rate. They managed to get their customer satisfaction rate up to 65% by doing so.
4. Predictive Analytics
Although these great digital transformations happened to provide a platform for reporting faults and repairs, wouldn’t it be even better if any of those issues didn’t arise in the first place? This is then where predictive analytics comes into play, predictive analytics uses data to preempt any issues before they can even happen.
Predictive analytics is able to tell you when something such as a lift is about to break down, this is done by looking at past maintenance reports, which are combined with vendor data. This is such a great way for any housing vendors to be able to fix an issue before it even happens, this can also be applied to other common tenant problems.
5. Automation Through Chatbots
Al automation is making its way into the housing sector. In many cases, housing associations have a contact centre team, who most of the time answer questions that are highly transactional, which in many cases are also highly repetitive.
There are two types of chatbots that could help housing associations deal with centre teams:
- Button style/scripted chatbot: This is where you will find that housing associations have set up preconfigured questions and answers. If these bots are set up correctly they can be effective, although setting up them in a housing association can be more difficult, as they may end up questioning what the tenant may actually want to know about.
- NLP-enabled chatbot: This stands for natural language processing, this chatbot uses AL to do all the hard work. It deciphers the question and the intent behind it, which then serves back what it thinks the appropriate answer is.
For chatbots to be effective and worth with, they need to be able to escalate any complex queries, which can then be handed over to a live agent. However, now more than ever tenants and customers are willing to adapt more to new technologies for services.
Now is the time for everyone to embrace the technological change within the housing sector, as it’s moving forward at a fast pace. As customers’ expectations change, organisations have had to adapt to meet their needs.
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