Drawing a comparison - but not with who you might think
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Drawing a comparison:

But not with who you might think.

 

We all do it, every day. We rate the quality of a service we’ve just received.

Whether it’s how quickly an online order has taken to be processed and delivered or how good the service was at your favourite coffee shop. We all make judgments on the companies we interact with and the service we receive from them. And we don’t make these judgements in a vacuum.

We position companies against each other. Irrespective of the type of service they provide. For example, we’ve all had these kinds of conversations with our friends and families:

“Do you know, I was waiting on hold for 25 minutes to speak to someone about my insurance renewal. That would never happen with my bank.”

Why is social housing any different?

 

Well, it’s not. Your tenants are comparing your services to all the other services they receive every day, irrespective of what those services may be.

And this was confirmed in our recent tenant survey ‘Beyond Four Walls’. We surveyed over 500 UK social housing tenants and found that:

  • Nearly 40% were dissatisfied, stating that their landlord’s service is falling short of the benchmark set by Amazon.

  • Additionally, 55% indicated that their landlord’s service was on a par with or worse than Evri, the parcel delivery company well-known for its substandard service.

Unlike competitive industries, social housing has evolved without needing to make service a differentiator. This has created a notable divide between tenant expectations and the services being provided – a concept we are calling the ‘customer-centricity gap’.

Should this serve as a red flag ahead of the new Consumer Standards?

The new Consumer Standards come into effect from April 2024. And they place emphasis on the quality of landlords’ services to tenants. With a particular focus on engagement and accountability, as well as transparency. The tenant satisfaction measures will also provide the regulator with valuable insights from a tenants’ perspective.

So, should our survey findings be a cause for concern?

Yes.

The tenants we surveyed expressed clear levels of dissatisfaction between the service they receive from their landlords and their expectations.

To meet the new Consumer Standards, will mean redefining service quality within social housing. Looking outside of the sector and embracing change to create the more responsive service tenants now crave. And technology adoption can play a key role within that.

Technology already exists to support social housing providers in making service improvements. With Oneserve for example, Gravesham Borough Council were able to achieve a 5* satisfaction rate for 76% of their repairs appointments.

In most cases new technology is simple to adopt. But it requires a change of mindset.

It’s time to look outside of your sector. Put your residents first. And embrace change.

Do this and you will be set in good stead for the new regulatory regime from April.

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