The way we communicate and interact socially is changing. The rise of technology, especially in the last decade, namely the internet, mobile phones, and associated improved connection speeds and reduced costs, has led to this dramatic change in the communication landscape. In addition, in the face of the difficult economic climate, social housing organisations are facing increasing financial pressure. Not only do they need to work harder, but also smarter. Contact centres are not excluded and so how might housing associations best communicate with customers in future?
Residents have the option of approaching their housing organisations in three different ways: in person, via phone, or more recently, via the internet.
By making a journey to the local housing organisation, a resident will get a face-to-face response to their issue. A customer service representative, prompted by their knowledge of the situation and information on their computer screen, will be able to tend to the resident’s needs. This is the best option for some. However, high numbers of people looking for appointments can mean a long waiting time. A resident can also call a contact centre directly, likely reducing waiting time as there are many agents available to help, all of whom are also prompted by a screen with live interaction relevant to, and throughout, the call. Lastly, and more recently, residents can be encouraged to use the internet to answer their questions, where online tutorials and interactive systems can often answer a resident’s question without them having to wait, as with the other two options.