Getting in touch with residents’ is a vital part of a housing provider’s day-to-day job. Provider’s need to establish strong lines of communication with their tenants for a number of reasons; for example, communication can minimise the risk of litigation and can give provider’s the chance to identify any issues within their properties before they spiral out of control. The need for effective communication has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. With lockdowns and changing restrictions, providers have been reliant on communication with residents in order to monitor and manage their homes.
However, it’s one thing to send communications. Letters, emails, text messages can all be effective tools for communication, but how can providers ensure that their tenants are actually engaging with this information?
The most effective way to ensure your residents actually read your communications is to make sure you are sending it at an appropriate time. This is where digitisation can be of great use. Through the use of technology, housing providers can easily identify the timeframe in which their residents are most likely to receive and read their communications. Digital communication channels can appropriately optimise a message to be sent at the right time for each individual, giving housing providers the ability to ensure that their communications are received and read by the majority of residents. It’s not a quick fix – it still involves some trial and error. In shifting to digital communications, providers can easily test different send times (i.e., morning versus afternoon) and dates (weekdays versus weekends) and discover which is the best time to send information out to their tenants. The aim is to send out your communications at a time where residents are already active online. In doing so, residents will be much more likely to engage with the information sent to them.
Another way is to trial different methods of communication. In the past, housing providers relied largely on physical communications such as letters, but these are slowly being replaced by digital alternatives. Evidence shows that letters are often misplaced or tossed aside by residents, making them an ineffective way to share important information. With letters, providers are able to track whether or not the letter has been delivered but that is where their insight ends. This is why so many providers have shifted toward a digital approach to communication.
In becoming more reliant on technology, housing providers can greatly reduce their costs. In sending out physical communications providers have to factor in the cost of postage, the potential cost of resending information, and consider the time and effort it takes to physically go out and post a letter. Not to mention the risk of postal delays which have increased dramatically since the first Covid-19 lockdown, this increases the likelihood of important information getting lost or arriving too late. With digital communication, information can be resent instantly and without any hassle. This is particularly useful is key information is being continually overlooked by residents; in resending communications residents are 54.7% more likely to engage with the existing information. This rise in engagement can lead to a reduction in no-access maintenance visits, helping providers guarantee that their properties are compliant with current government policies.
The increased traceability that comes with digital lines of communication is of great use to housing providers as it allows them to track whether residents have received their communications. Devices like Switchee’s Smart Thermostat even give providers the ability to monitor when tenants have opened their communications. This increased level of traceability leads to a reduced risk of costly lawsuits as providers can track attempted communications and show that they have done all that they can to make sure their properties remain compliant with government policy.