Newlon Housing

 

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Case Study

SMS Text communication with Tenants

· 7,000 Properties

· Audit Commission praise use of SMS

· Benefits for Tower Block Management

· Repairs

· Rent Arrears

· Tenant Self Service

Matthew Phillips - Newlon Housing Trust Deeplake's Communication Manager has enabled Newlon Housing Trust to  open up new channels of communication with residents who have historically been hard  to reach.

Newlon began using the Deeplake Communications Manager in Spring 2009, and has found it to be an excellent tool for communicating with housing association members who are dispersed over a large metropolitan area.

Repair appointments and reminders

Matthew Phillips, Customer Service Manager at Newlon Housing Trust, explains:"When residents call to book a repair, we send a text message straightaway confirming the appointment time and details. We then send another reminder message the day before the appointment, which gives them the option to cancel the appointment simply by replying to the text message.

"If residents choose to cancel, they get a call-back from one of our staff to reschedule the repair. Using this system we have been able to reduce the number of 'no shows', where our maintenance staff arrive at the appointment to find the residents aren't there. It has helped us to make the repair service more efficient both for our staff and for the residents."

Tower Block messages

"We manage a number of blocks of flats, and we have used the Deeplake SMS system to send group messages to the residents where there may be 50 calls about the same issue. This reassures tenants that a problem is being dealt with.

"For instance, if a lift wasn't working, we might send a first message alerting them to the problem, and letting them know that we are aware of it. A second message later in the day would inform residents that the engineer was working on the problem., and a third message could be sent once the lift was up and running again.”

“We were recently inspected by the Audit Commission and they were very impressed with this use of the Deeplake technology - it's an excellent innovation."

Inclusivity

Using SMS messaging has enabled Newlon to reach residents who had experienced difficulties communicating in the past. One resident with hearing difficulties has embraced the new system and has been able to address issues that have been unresolved using old methods of communication.

"It had been very difficult for us to talk to one lady previously - she was using Type Talk to make phone calls, which means that all messages go through an intermediary, and we found that messages would get lost in translation or misunderstood.

"Now that we have introduced the SMS system she's in much more frequent contact!" says Matt. "It's great because we have finally been able to sort out a number of problems for her."

"We're delighted with the Deeplake system," says Matt. "It has enabled us to move away from doing exercises on paper - things like satisfaction surveys - and gives us much better value for money. It has been very popular with the residents because it shows that we are responsive and care about customer service. It's much easier to get messages out to people."