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The Future of CX for Housing Associations

In an era where customer experience (CX) is becoming ever more important, housing associations are recognising the need to adapt and embrace innovative technologies to enhance service delivery. One such technology that holds immense promise is artificial intelligence (AI). By leveraging AI-powered contact centre solutions, housing associations can enhance tenant interactions in a more positive way, streamline operations, and unlock new opportunities for growth. Read on to find out more about the future of CX for housing associations and how AI can transform and optimise contact centre operations and ultimately improve customer service.

The Rise of AI in Housing Associations 

AI has gained significant traction across many industries, with 64% of organisations reporting that AI will improve their business, and housing associations are no exception. With the increasing complexity of customer interactions and rising expectations of tenants, AI offers a compelling solution to augment contact centre capabilities.

AI-powered virtual assistants can handle routine enquiries, provide personalised recommendations, and facilitate self-service options, freeing up human agents to focus on more difficult tasks and therefore build strong relationships with tenants.

On top of this, AI’s data analytics capabilities enable housing associations to gain valuable insights into tenant preferences, sentiment analysis, and trends. By harnessing this wealth of information, organisations can make data-driven decisions, spot areas for improvement, and proactively address issues, thus enhancing the overall CX.

Transforming Housing Association Contact Centres with AI

AI-powered contact centre solutions have the potential to reshape the way housing associations interact with their tenants. As Jason Roos, CEO of Cirrus, says: “AI technologies, when used in the right way within housing association contact centres, can enhance operational efficiency and make CX a much more positive thing for everyone.”

It’s the importance of finding “the right way” that can make all the difference, and there are some areas of CX that can benefit from AI more than others.

Intelligent Call Routing

AI algorithms can analyse and understand tenant queries, ensuring they are routed to the most suitable agent or self-service option. For example, if a tenant is asking to set up an automatic payment, the algorithm will route them to a human agent with the capability to take payments, or direct them to the self-service portal. Alternatively, if a tenant is looking to end their tenancy, the algorithm can be programmed to route them through a specific process or transfer them to an agent with specialised knowledge.

This intelligent call routing reduces wait times, enhances first-call resolution rates, where the standard hovers at answering around 80% of calls in 20 seconds, and boosts tenant satisfaction. Plus, it can ensure that the agent themselves finds more satisfaction in their work as they’re able to help people in a more immediate way. This will improve their motivation and enhance CX even more.

Personalised Experiences 

By leveraging AI’s ability to analyse vast amounts of tenant data, housing associations can personalise interactions based on tenants’ preferences, history, and previous interactions. This means that AI-powered systems can offer tailored solutions, relevant (and timely) information, and targeted promotions, creating more meaningful engagements and fostering stronger relationships.

Predictive Maintenance 

Housing associations can leverage AI to predict and even prevent maintenance issues in properties. When this kind of system is in place, tenants are going to appreciate the help this offers them. By looking into historical data and using machine learning algorithms, AI can identify patterns and anomalies, enabling proactive maintenance to take place and the right interventions to be actioned. This helps improve tenant satisfaction by minimising disruptions and ensuring properties are well-maintained.

Additionally, AI can adeptly answer common maintenance enquiries. For instance, if a tenant has an issue with their boiler or another appliance and wants to know how to report it, the AI can help them understand what steps they need to take to get their issue addressed quickly and efficiently. Similarly, when it comes to repairs and maintenance requests, AI can provide tenants with accurate information about response times as well as provide them with the ability to track the progress of their requests.

Voice and Speech Recognition 

AI-powered speech recognition technology enables housing associations to provide seamless voice-based tenant service. By accurately transcribing and analysing tenant conversations, AI systems can understand intent, detect emotions, and provide real-time support. This empowers housing associations to deliver a more natural and efficient tenant experience, with the added benefit that there will be humans on hand to help should the interaction require it.

Automated Workflows

AI-powered contact centre solutions can automate repetitive and manual tasks, including documentation, reporting, and data entry. By automating these processes, housing associations can improve operational efficiency, reduce errors, and allocate resources to more strategic initiatives.

Tenants will often ask for reference letters at the end of their tenancy. AI can be used to automatically generate these letters in accordance with the tenant’s request, reducing the manual effort required and allowing staff to focus on more important tasks.

The Future Outlook

The future of housing association contact centre solutions should focus on CX, and therefore harnessing the power of AI is vital. As AI continues to evolve, its capabilities will expand, enabling even greater transformation in the sector. What are these advancements? Although we don’t know for sure, there are some possibilities that are very exciting.

Enhanced Natural Language Processing 

AI systems will continue to improve their ability to understand and respond to human language, making interactions with virtual assistants even more seamless and conversational. This might be a cause of concern for some call centre agents, but with appropriate training and information, managers can ensure they know they’ll be working alongside AI to enhance CX, not be replaced by it.

Omnichannel Support 

AI will facilitate housing associations being able to provide consistent and seamless CX across various communication channels, including voice chat, social media, and email. This will ensure that tenants receive a unified experience regardless of the channel they choose. In some cases, this is already taking place, with AI gathering information from all channels and reporting them on one platform, enabling team members to see all relevant data in one place and providing the means to give tenants more effective results from their interaction.

Proactive Insights and Recommendations 

AI’s predictive capabilities will become more refined, enabling housing associations to anticipate tenant needs and provide proactive recommendations. This will empower associations (and individual agents) to offer personalised services and exceed customer expectations. For example, if a tenant had previously asked how to apply housing benefits, AI could proactively recommend information about other financial support.

Final Thoughts

The future of CX for housing associations no doubt lies in embracing AI-powered housing association contact centre solutions. However, this should not be thought of as a solution in the distant future. Many of these solutions are already starting to reap rewards and now may be the ideal time for your housing association contact centre to look into new technologies that would enhance its dealings with clients.

At Cirrus, we know that automation and AI have the potential to provide better tenant service for housing associations. However, it does need to be implemented with care and the right training and guidance. Our solutions do just that, helping your contact centre agents use AI in a way that will enable them to exceed customers’ expectations by providing superior CX. Contact us today if you want to find out more about how AI can help you provide the best tenant experience for your housing association.