[Blog] How AI can benefit the Social Housing sector – part 2
In our last post we started to discuss how Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation can help the Social Housing sector. We talked about some of the challenges that the organisations in that sector have to overcome. In this second part we explore how AI can help overcome these challenges.
So how can AI help?
First off, there are many ways to help overcome the problems we introduced in the first part of this blog, but we want to consider them from the perspective of AI.
AI and automation can help organisations improve customer service by offering additional contact channels and allowing services to tailored. It can also reduce costs, and/or increase productivity, by taking activities away from the human workforce. Here are some more specific examples.
Chatbots are becoming common place in many organisations and sectors. Telephone and face-to-face contact channels can be costly for organisations to provide and can also provide a poor customer service if they involve queues during peak hours. Chatbots can provide an alternative channel for customers that is cheaper to provide and often quicker to resolve issues.
They are well placed to provide straightforward services where human interaction is not required. For example, paying a bill, asking a question or booking a repair. New AI technology is improving their capabilities all the time, allowing them to understand natural sentences, offer solutions and learn from customer interactions.
New generations of customers who want to access services how and when they want may prefer self-service channels such as chatbots. This can aid with empowerment of residents by providing them with a means to access the information and services they want.
Underpinning better service, whether through a chatbot or any channel, is the ability to understand more about each resident such as their preferences, needs and any on-going issues they may have.
Having this information to hand and using it to manage the engagement with the resident can be essential in ensuring they receive the support they need. They can deliver a personalised service and reduce the pressure on their workloads.
This, in turn, can help ensure queries are resolved faster and more accurately, ultimately leading to informed and engaged residents that feel valued, heard and empowered. This is particularly important for vulnerable residents who might need the extra layer of support and assistance. It also helps prevent potential problems and crises before they can occur.
Proactive resident engagement
AI has the potential to identify or predict resident issues early. Allowing proactive action to be taken to resolve them. As a result, their experience is positive and they remain a customer.
Engaging residents once they have made a complaint about an issue is too late. Furthermore, many have complex needs and may not feel confident about complaining. They may even feel it is in their best interest to stay quiet. As a result, issues can build up until the resolution is costly for all parties.
Contacting residents early to help will make them feel supported and avoid issues escalating. In addition, Housing Association teams are freed up to help the most vulnerable of customers.
The maintenance and servicing of the properties and assets of a Housing Association can be aided by AI and automation in many ways.
It can automatically identify when servicing of an asset is required, engage the resident to schedule the timing and then coordinate the team to complete the work. This significantly cuts down on manual admin activity, unsuccessful property visits, resident frustration, and regulatory issues.
AI also has the capability to predict when an asset is likely to fail and maintenance is required. As a result, the responsibility for identifying these issues is taken away from the resident and the lifespan of the asset is extended. Moving the Housing Association from a break/fix approach to predict/prevent instead.
What We Think
These are just some of the ways that AI and automation can help the Social Housing sector. There will be many more that we have not mentioned.
Furthermore, there are likely to be lots of solutions in other sectors that can be applied to Social Housing with only limited adaptation. We will continue to explore those and other sectors in future posts so watch this space!