In this blog, we present insights from an online Voice of the Customer survey conducted by Voicescape in June 2023 among income professionals in over 30 UK social landlords, focusing on rent arrears management and the need for improved support to tenants facing financial difficulties. Through the lens of income professionals, we will explore how the research reveals strategies that can streamline rent arrears management, promote financial stability, and ensure the well-being of both tenants and social housing providers.
9 Key Point Summary of this Blog:
- The survey captured perspectives from team leaders and senior management personnel, ensuring diverse insights from operational and strategic decision-makers.
- The survey highlighted the importance of delivering basic services consistently, with a desire to achieve higher levels of service delivery.
- Tenant focus and engagement emerged as a crucial aspect, with a need to prioritise tenants' needs and establish effective communication channels.
- Leveraging data for insights and decision-making was recognised as important, indicating opportunities for improvement.
- Efficient and effective ways of working were identified as vital in supporting tenants in rent arrears, with a clear aspiration to enhance current approaches and provide better support to tenants.
- The survey emphasised the desire for fit-for-purpose technology solutions and flexible services from suppliers to meet evolving sector needs.
- Personal well-being and job satisfaction were considered, with the importance of training and professional development for staff members supporting tenants with rent arrears.
- The survey findings highlight the sector's genuine need for innovative solutions and the desire to incorporate new technologies across operations.
- By prioritising technology-driven solutions, social housing landlords can enhance service delivery, improve efficiency, and provide affordable and sustainable housing solutions to those in need.
Note: Scores were on a sliding scale of -3 (Poor), 0 (Middle of the road) to 3 (Exemplary)
In the rapidly evolving landscape of social housing, organisations are constantly seeking ways to improve their services and enhance tenant satisfaction. The Caseload Manager Solution aims to address several key aspects of arrears management, such as helping organisations gain capacity to help delivering basic services consistently, putting tenants first, achieving tenant engagement, and turning data into actionable insights.
Voicescape conducted a comprehensive survey to gain insights into the housing sector's current state and aspirations for improved service delivery and tenant-centric practices. The survey participants, representing different seniority levels within their organisations, shared their perspectives on various key performance indicators. This analysis aims to provide an overview of the survey findings and explore the potential of implementing the Caseload Manager solution to the sector.
The survey respondents primarily consisted of team leaders and senior management personnel. This diversity in seniority levels ensures that the survey captures perspectives from both operational and strategic decision-makers within the organisations.
Delivering Basic Services
The survey assessed the current and desired levels of basic service delivery consistency. The results indicate that the organisations, on average, perceived their current level as moderately satisfactory (score of 1), but aspire to achieve a higher level of consistency (score of 3). This suggests that there is room for improvement and a need for effective solutions to enhance service delivery.
Tenant Focus and Engagement
The survey also examined the landlord’s ability to prioritise tenants and engage with them effectively. The responses reveal that while they acknowledged their current efforts to prioritise tenants to some extent, there is still a desire to improve and put tenants' needs at the forefront (score of 3). This aligns with the growing emphasis on customer-centric approaches in the social housing sector.
Proactive strategies to identify tenants at risk of falling into rent arrears and establishing effective channels of communication can help address issues before they escalate. This may involve regular check-ins, providing financial literacy resources, and offering early intervention programs to assist tenants in managing their finances.
Data and Insights
Turning data into meaningful insights is a critical aspect of effective decision-making in social housing. The survey findings suggest that organisations generally recognise the importance of leveraging data but have room for improvement in this area (score of 1). There is a desire to enhance data-driven decision-making capabilities and gain individual tenant-level insights (score of 3), indicating an opportunity for solutions like the Caseload Manager to bridge this gap.
Efficiency and Effectiveness
Efficient and effective ways of working are vital in supporting tenants who have fallen into rent arrears. The survey results indicate that social landlords perceive their current approaches to addressing rent arrears as moderately efficient and effective (score of 1). This suggests that while some processes may be in place to manage rent arrears, there is room for improvement. Social landlords recognise the need to enhance these processes and provide better support to tenants facing financial difficulties (score of 3). This aspiration signifies a recognition of the challenges tenants are facing in meeting their financial obligations and the importance of developing streamlined and optimised ways of working to address these issues effectively.
The data suggests there is an opportunity to leverage data and technology to further streamline operational processes, automate aspects of rent arrears collections, and enable better tracking and monitoring of tenant accounts. Implementing digital systems that integrate financial data and tenant information can provide social landlords with real-time insights, allowing them to identify trends, target interventions, and improve overall efficiency and outcomes.
Technology and Supplier Relationships
The social landlords surveyed expressed a desire for fit-for-purpose technology solutions (score of 3) and flexible, bespoke services from suppliers (score of 3). This highlights the importance of leveraging modern technologies and cultivating strong partnerships with suppliers to meet the evolving needs of the sector.
Personal Well-being and Job Satisfaction
The survey also assessed personal well-being, workload manageability, and job satisfaction among respondents. While individual responses varied, organisations should consider the overall well-being and job satisfaction of their employees, as it can significantly impact productivity and service delivery.
The survey shows that accessing training and professional development opportunities for staff members involved in supporting tenants with rent arrears can enhance their knowledge and skills. This can enable them to provide more effective guidance, empathetic support, and appropriate referrals to tenants, ensuring a comprehensive and holistic approach to addressing financial difficulties.
The survey findings reveal a strong desire within the social housing sector to embrace new technologies and adapt to the evolving needs of tenants in the face of the cost-of-living crisis. It is evident that there is a genuine need for innovative solutions that can streamline operations and provide better support to tenants facing financial difficulties. While Caseload Manager offers numerous potential benefits in arrears management, it is important to note the sector's desire to incorporate new technologies across operations where all stakeholders would profit. By prioritising the adoption of technology-driven solutions, social housing landlords can enhance service delivery, improve efficiency, and ultimately fulfil their mission of providing affordable and sustainable housing solutions to those in need.
To learn more about the survey results, or the Caseload Manager Solution, please contact a member of the Voicescape team on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07375 428 205.