The top 3 issues social housing associations face when communicating with tenants

Shelter is a fundamental human right, a cornerstone of our existence that provides more than just a roof over our heads—it offers security, dignity, and a sense of belonging. However, the tragic events of the Grenfell Tower fire, highlighted another facet of this right that demands our urgent attention: the right to be heard.

  1. The social housing communication gap

    The core of many issues within social housing lies in a fundamental communication gap. Despite efforts to engage, tenants frequently find themselves mired in a labyrinth of unreturned calls, unaddressed complaints, and the feeling of being unheard. The 2022 Insight report from the housing ombudsman revealed a stark 29% increase in social housing complaints and enquiries in the last quarter alone, compared to the same period in the previous year, signalling a growing unrest and dissatisfaction among tenants.

  2. The consequences of silence

    The repercussions of inadequate communication in social housing can be severe, impacting not just the individual well-being of tenants but also the broader community trust and safety. The tragic Grenfell Tower fire in 2017 serves as a harrowing reminder of what can happen when tenant concerns are not adequately heard or acted upon. It underlines the urgent need for housing providers to not just listen, but actively engage with their tenants.

    female tenant looking sad

  3. Bridging the divide with technology

The potential for technology to bridge the communication gap in social housing is immense. Innovative solutions can offer more than just efficiency; they can provide a platform for voices that have long been marginalised. Here are a few ways technology can make a difference:

  • Digital communications platforms for reporting and feedback - User-friendly apps and online portals can streamline the process for tenants to report issues, track the progress of their complaints, and provide feedback. This not only makes the process more transparent but also more accessible to a wider range of tenants.

  • AI and chatbots for immediate response - Artificial intelligence and chatbots can provide immediate responses to common queries, offering a 24/7 point of contact. This can help alleviate the frustration of tenants who often wait days or even weeks for a reply to simple questions.

  • Data analytics for proactive management - Advanced data analytics can help housing providers identify trends, predict potential issues, and address them proactively. This could transform the traditional reactive model of social housing management into a more tenant-focused, preventative approach.

  • Virtual meetings and consultations - With the advent of video conferencing technologies, tenants can have face-to-face interactions with housing officials without the need for physical meetings. This can be particularly beneficial for those with mobility issues or those living in remote areas.

The solution? 8x8’s UCaaS platform. Embracing this solution can revolutionise the way organisations approach social housing management, offering a comprehensive solution that caters to the diverse needs of tenants and housing officials. As an all-in-one collaboration hub, 8x8 UCaaS integrates phone, video, messaging, and more, enabling seamless communication and collaboration across all levels of the organisation. Its cloud-based platform ensures that every employee can access telephony, video meetings, and team messaging capabilities from anywhere, on any device, breaking down silos and fostering a networked organisation. The platform's advanced features, such as enterprise-grade telephony, multi-level auto-attendant, and efficient call routing, ensure that no call is missed, and every enquiry is directed to the right person, enhancing tenant satisfaction and employee productivity.

Moreover, 8x8 UCaaS capacity for hosting one-to-one, or large video meetings and providing real-time translation and captioning makes it an ideal tool for virtual consultations and tenant meetings, ensuring inclusivity and accessibility. The use of AI-generated post-meeting summaries and built-in analytics offers actionable insights, facilitating data-driven decision-making and proactive management. Additionally, the platform's integration capabilities with over 40+ business apps, including Salesforce, ServiceNow, and Microsoft Teams, allow for a unified user experience, reducing the need for multiple applications and streamlining workflows.

In essence, 8x8 UCaaS stands out as a transformative tool for social housing management, offering a blend of communication, collaboration, and analytical capabilities that empower organisations to deliver a more responsive, transparent, and efficient service to their tenants.

Happy family and tenants moving into home

The human touch

While technology offers promising solutions, it's crucial to remember that at the heart of social housing are people — with diverse needs, experiences, and concerns. Technology should not replace human interaction but enhance it, ensuring that every tenant feels seen, heard, and valued.

The question, "Are you really listening to your tenants?" serves as a call to action for social housing providers. It's a reminder that effective communication is the cornerstone of trust, safety, and community. By embracing innovative technology, we can open new channels of dialogue, but it's the commitment to genuinely engage with and understand the needs of tenants that will truly bridge the gap. As we move forward, let's ensure that the future of social housing is not just about providing a roof over heads but about building a foundation for inclusive, responsive, and connected communities.

At Britannic, our robust partnership with 8x8 (we’re top level – Summit Partners) places us in an ideal position to support your housing association or local council in refining its communication strategies. We have numerous mutual customers and over 20 years’ experience of the social housing sector. Our joint efforts with 8x8 empower us to craft customised solutions designed specifically for your organisation, guaranteeing optimal engagement with your tenants. Interested in exploring this further?

Let's collaborate to transform your communication approach, elevating every student interaction to be more significant and effective.