Housing Associations need to implement process improvements to improve the customer experience if they are targeting more people who would normally rent from Private Landlords or Letting Agents.
Process improvements that are needed to improve customer experience
Are you trying to encourage more users into your Choice Based Lettings system? Or are you advertising some of your properties in a different way to try and encourage would be private renters as new tenants? Either way, you will need process improvements to achieve this. So what sort of process improvements are needed? Firstly, it is important to review how the private rental market works.
Process improvements based on the private rental market
There may be slight variations in their processes depending on the landlord or agent. So after the property advert is put live what happens next? Most of the time they will deal with inquiries from people based on the criteria set in their advertisement. In some cases they may get people wanting to view a property that same day. They will have processes to deal with this. This could be people who work a different shift which means people can go and view properties after work. In a lot of cases they will also have staff members available over the weekends to deal with inquiries and perform viewings. After a viewing they will obtain feedback from prospective tenants. If they are interested in the property then there will be reference and credit checks performed. If they pass this stage successfully they will then be asked to sign a rental agreement which may include putting down a deposit.
Encouraging more people to sign up to the Choice Based Lettings (CBL) system
If you are looking to get more employed people to sign up for this you need to make the process simpler for them. In some cases there are forms of many pages that need filling in before they are registered on the CBL system. How do you make this customer experience better? Can process improvements include updating the form so there are less pages to fill in? Can you help new users to fill in the form? You need to help any new sign ups along this path. In the private rental market they don’t need to fill in these forms upfront. So you need to see what process improvements make it simpler and easy to sign up to a CBL system.
You also need to be clear and manage their expectations when they have signed up for your CBL system. Give them an idea of the timescales relating to property bidding, viewings and the overall process from start to finish.
How do the processes of Private Landlords and Letting Agents differ from Housing Associations
Not all Housing Associations are open at the weekend whereas Private Landlords and Letting Agents will make themselves available. So do you change your working hours? Can you encourage flexible working to deal with weekend inquiries and viewings? The sign up process for new tenants may also be different. As mentioned above you need to make your processes seamless so users have a great customer experience. If they need a helping hand, be there to provide it.
Process improvements are vital if you want to convert more of your inquiries into actual tenancies. A lot of people won’t wait around for you to get back to them about a property. So you need to ensure you communicate with them at all stages of the process to manage their expectations. Even if your timeline is longer, if you clearly communicate this there should be no issues as you have given them this information. Communication is key to a better customer experience.