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Blog Post

Customer Service Challenges Within The Social Housing Sector & How to Overcome Them

There are 4 million people in social housing in the UK. Research shows that social housing tenants are three times more likely to face difficulties accessing services than the average.

When your call centre is buzzing with activity, and there’s a long line of tenants waiting to speak to someone, “lucky” probably isn’t the first word that comes to mind. But here’s the thing: social housing providers have it pretty good when it comes to engaging with customers.

Think about it: unlike many other businesses where call centres deal with a flood of unknown callers and all sorts of inquiries, social housing providers know precisely who’s calling them – the residents in the homes they manage. They also understand why they’re calling – usually about rent, repairs, complaints, or updates on their cases. And they can often predict when they’ll call – around rent due dates, when they’re waiting for repairs, or when the weather’s turned chilly and boilers start acting up.

This predictability gives social housing providers a big advantage. It means they can be ready for the calls they know are coming, making things run smoother and giving residents a better experience.

As we tackle the customer service challenges in the social housing sector, let’s remember this advantage. By making the most of it, we can solve problems faster, keep residents happier, and ensure we get the best value for money.

So, let’s dive in and look at the critical customer service challenges facing the social housing sector and offer solutions to overcome them.

Tackling Customer Service Challenges: Straight Talk and Real Solutions

Social housing is in high demand, and with that comes the challenge of keeping up. It’s simple: people need homes they can afford, and as those numbers grow, our job gets tougher. We’re talking about real people facing real frustrations—like waiting too long for repairs that impact their daily lives. With nearly five million households looking at unaffordable living situations by 2030, it’s time to get serious about solutions.

Understanding Our Residents

The diversity of our communities requires a tailored approach to meet varied resident needs effectively. For example, a local housing association could implement a multilingual support service, offering assistance in several languages prevalent within the community. This service includes translated documents and interpretation services for important meetings and communications. By doing so, they ensure that language barriers are broken down, enabling all residents to access the information and support they need comfortably. This approach demonstrates the commitment to recognising and respecting the unique backgrounds and needs of residents, ensuring everyone feels understood and at home.

Speeding Up Repair and Maintenance

Currently, 38% of UK social housing residents live with unresolved maintenance issues, which impact their physical and mental health. Addressing repairs and maintenance efficiently directly impacts resident well-being. For instance, implementing a digital ticketing system allows social housing providers to quickly assign repair tasks to the nearest available technician, significantly reducing wait times for residents. This boosts efficiency and reinforces the provider’s commitment to prompt service and resident satisfaction.

Enhancing Communication with Residents

Improving communication channels between social housing providers and residents is crucial. For example, Cirrus provided The Greater London Authority (GLA) with an Interactive Voice Response system that helped reduce call volume by over 66%, meaning that everyone in the GLA area gets the help they need quickly and easily – whether that’s the IVR assisting people with routine enquiries, or agents handling more complex cases.

Social housing providers are investing in omni-channel solutions that consolidate messages from emails, phone calls, and digital messages. AI solutions such as Conversational AI (CAI) are handling more first-contact queries than ever before, so agents can focus on more complex conversations. This ensures that every query is tracked and addressed in a timely manner, enhancing collaboration and service. It exemplifies a straightforward approach to maintaining open lines of communication, crucial for effective partnership management.

Driving Change and Tracking Progress

Local councils and housing groups need to change things to improve everyone’s quality of life in social housing. It’s not just about investing in new tech; it’s a big job that requires thought, money, and time. Everyone in the organisation has to be on board and work together toward the same goals.

Putting Residents First

Creating an environment where making residents happy matters most is super important. By teaching teams how to communicate better, understand different cultures, and show empathy, housing associations will ensure that it’s something special every time they talk to or help a resident. Agents will evolve to become more than just workers; rather, the heart and soul of a friendly and welcoming community. Every chat and every help offered will be delivered with kindness and respect.

Better Services with Technology

Using online systems to manage things like rent and repair requests makes life easier for everyone. But it’s key to ensure teams know how to use these tools in a way that puts residents first. Quick, clear responses to questions or problems are a must. Housing associations must leverage the latest technology to build a stronger community feeling, making everyone’s home happier. By making tech easy and pleasant to use, tedious tasks become something that actually makes people’s days better.

Growing with Feedback and Empowering Leadership

Organisations should consider implementing AI solutions to understand residents’ needs and feelings and drive ongoing improvement. This approach ensures housing experiences keep getting better, focusing sharply on what residents want.

Incorporating AI-driven solutions like Cirrus Copilot will elevate management decision-making. Organisations will soon be able to analyse every interaction and agent performance, uncovering crucial insights—emotional triggers, skill gaps, and coaching needs. Features such as Speech Insights and Real-Time Monitoring identify conversation trends and monitor performance live. Quality Checks and Smart Coaching pinpoint where agents can improve, offering personalised training.


Social housing’s role extends beyond providing shelter; it’s about laying the groundwork for a stable, fulfilling life. Refining our resources and integrating technology can create a more engaging, supportive environment for residents.

Our commitment at Cirrus extends to empowering our clients to improve their residents’ living experiences. We are driving a future where social housing is a cornerstone of a fair and secure society. Together, we’re facing challenges and setting new standards for quality and care in social housing across the UK.