Let’s move to a more digital world
The UK Housing Awards recognise and reward the very best in the UK housing sector. This year’s event takes place in May, bringing together more than 1,200 senior housing professionals. Over the next few months, organisations and individuals shortlisted for a UK Housing Award are giving an insight into their work and why they have been nominated. In this blog, Lisa Watson, IT business partner shares more about Let’s Move, a new fully automated and online application system, that have put Accent Group in the running to win the Innovator of the Year: Technology award.
Wherever you look across the sector, housing providers are making significant technological investments and advances, but we believe we have gone one step further with innovative digital services our customers can easily access whenever, wherever and however they choose.
Most housing associations with 5,000 or more homes already offer some form of self-service, but it is usually still a form-based approach, which needs at least some manual input. With Let’s Move, we are offering a fully automated and online application system, which we believe is still relatively new to the sector.
With Let’s Move, all customers need to do is create an account and they are ready to search for their new home. Because of the way we have developed Let’s Move, once a customer is offered a home, we can seamlessly transition their applicant account into a resident account without them to do anything else. Within minutes of their tenancy commencing, they can make full use of ‘MyAccount’ services.
More than 5,600 people have registered for a home with us under Let’s Move. This comfortably exceeds the number of applications on our former system, which tells us we are reaching out to a wider audience with a simpler and more accessible process. The new system also benefits existing residents by freeing up the capacity of our contact centre team to respond to more routine tenancy management-related tasks. In turn, this frees up time for managers to resolve more complex enquiries.
An unexpected benefit has perhaps been the increased availability of housing for customers who may never have had a real chance to of finding a home due to their locality. The increased visibility of our properties on Let’s Move, together with the realisation of what homes are available elsewhere, has resulted in more customers willing to consider relocating completely. This is not only good news for our customers, it is relieving some of the pressure on some already stretched local authority waiting lists.
Our offer of a home is still based on need, but not just that. We now have an increased understanding of the customer, their needs and their ability to manage and sustain a tenancy. We will never knowingly set up a new customer only to find the tenancy fails because of a lack of knowledge, understanding or support needs. That’s not in anyone’s best interests, and Let’s Move is helping to make sure it doesn’t happen.
Let’s Move is making a huge different to Accent customers and, as similar systems are inevitably developed across the sector, the often slow and heavily administrative will be improved for everyone and will eventually become a thing of the past.