United Welsh Housing Association

SMS TENANT COMMUNICATIONS – CASE STUDY
Deeplake’s Communication Manager enabled United Welsh to broaden the scope of
tenant communication across a number of departments and make significant savings by
re-engineering their Choice Based Letting Scheme.


Introduction
United Welsh was established in 1989 in South Wales to provide good quality, affordable
social housing. United Welsh manage nearly 4000 properties with a diverse range of
tenants – old and young – with associated support services.


United Welsh is a member of Integrate - a consortium of eight like-minded housing
associations in South Wales who have joined forces to offer the best value in
development and maintenance services and materials.


United Welsh began using the Deeplake SMS system in November 2006 and found it to
be an excellent tool for communicating with residents and non-residents who are
dispersed over mixed geographical areas.


Rent Arrears

Initially, United Welsh introduced the Deeplake SMS system to improve the collection of
rent arrears with new tenants. Tracy Williams – Head of Information Systems explains
“We trialled the system initially to help with reducing rent arrears. As soon as a new tenant
fell two weeks in arrears on their rent a text message was sent welcoming them to United
Welsh and advising them of their rent status.


“Reminders would be sent out at regular intervals. When payments were received we
would sent a text message thanking them for their payment and confirming their rent
balance. The system was also able to let tenants check their rent balance by SMS text.
“We find that SMS is a very quick, and inexpensive, method of contact and the messages
are more likely to be read and responded to than a letter.”


Choice Based Letting
In summer 2007 United Welsh used the Deeplake SMS system to reduce costs in their
Selectahome Choice Based Letting scheme, where the cost of sending printed brochures
to tenants on each new available property was high, and which also created a significant
amount of administration. United Welsh wanted to find a better way to support the
SelectaHome scheme.


Tracy Williams described the objectives “We wanted to introduce a new way of working
that reduced our costs and was more efficient, but filled the voids more quickly and was
more convenient for our applicants. We found a combined Web and SMS solution
achieved this.


“Before using SMS we would print, stuff and post flyers with the details of all new
properties to all on our application list and ask applicants to confirm their interest by post
or telephone. These “bids” would be entered into a selection process with the successful
tenants being notified by post.


“Using Deeplake’s SMS system we would select and send text messages relating to the
only those properties an applicant was eligible to apply for . Applicants could reply directly
to “bid” directly via SMS text. The property details were published on our web-site or
printed in-house for the small number of tenants who could not access online details.
“The new system was very successful with almost half of all bids being returned via SMS
text with no administration on our part. Over the initial 12 months of operation we estimate
there was a cost saving of over £55k, which was an immediate return on our investment.
“We are continuing to improve and streamline our procedures but this was a great
example of what can be achieved with SMS communication.”


Implementation
Tracy was pleased with the help and assistance provided during implementation saying
“Deeplake worked well with us in developing in developing out applications on their
platform. We are pleased Deeplake’s SMS platform has been adopted as the preferred
SMS solution with Open Housing as it brings our future support and integration
requirements under one roof”.