Traditionally, housing hasn’t been at the vanguard of digital adoption or customer service technology uptake, but we are starting to see a switch to a real-time, emotional engagement focus which is benefitting both the “customer” (resident) and the service delivery organisation as well.
If we focus on the customer first, then real-time feedback is a very positive and welcome step if it’s not laborious to complete, intrusively delivered or disingenuous in its language.
If done correctly, it gives the customer an opportunity to provide feedback, in their own words without being “led”.
They are more likely to give a more accurate picture about the experience they have just received than if they had been asked a week or even two days later – feedback requested more than 24 hours after the event is 40% less accurate.
The immediacy of this feedback enables activity to occur far quicker than in days past.
If the feedback is positive then thanks can be returned and the positivity can be replayed internally and specifically to the relevant teams or individuals, ensuring that the person has a clear understanding of their actions and their customers’ reaction.
This then drives a level of self-improvement and engagement internally which may not have been possible with monthly surveys.
If the feedback is negative, having been alerted to it earlier in the engagement than if you were running slower, less operationally effective feedback strategies, the housing association is in a far better position to be able to react and set up a repair loop in order to address the low score or the poor sentiment.
This has a direct and positive impact on reducing complaints.
Essentially, customer experience is an equation which you try to balance out – very rarely does one get a great customer experience delivered by someone who is disengaged from the organisation that is delivering it.
Understanding the link between the action and reaction is key to driving engagement internally.
The analogy I use when comparing the traditional monthly/quarterly survey methodology to the real-time operational feedback process is to liken it to driving a car.
The standard slower survey process gives you the lag measures and is like driving the car using the rear-view mirror.
Real-time feedback populating easily digestible dashboards for consumption by the whole company gives you information far quicker so that you can pull the right levers to resolve issues far quicker.
The transparency of this information is key too – transparency drives accountability and provides you with the weight of evidence to support both tactical and strategic projects to resolve pressures in the customer engagement process.