How can using AI technology improve the customer experience and what impact will this have on the management of homes in the future?
This is the question we asked a number of decision makers in leadership and IT teams of several housing associations at the Smarter Homes, Smarter Management virtual round table on Tuesday 23rd February 2021.
Hosted by One Consulting and Devonshires, the event took place virtually with guest speaker; Chris Henry, IT Manager at Salix Homes, a social housing provider based in Salford, Greater Manchester. Chris shared his learnings, so far, since the implementation of their MiiHome research project which has seen the application of smart-home technologies into their homes.
Attendees joined from: CHP Ltd, Notting Hill Genesis, Optivo, Saxon Weald, The Guinness Partnership, Wakefield and District Housing and Wandle.
Some of the key discussion points from the session were:
- How to strike the right balance of AI and the Human touch; be careful not to use technology as a panacea, because in some circumstances a couple of attendees actually saw their KPIs drop. Sometimes the reassurance from a human is what’s really needed.
- It’s really important to know your audience! There are some difficulties when getting people to report issues on the internet:
- A lot of people went back to the phone call, they feel comforted that the engineer understands their needs better.
- How do you manage things like getting the customer to upload photos etc.?
- AI can be great for getting repairs booked in but this was also highlighted as a big issue for organisations where the contractor make-up is too complex to make it easy to automate appointing; particularly for emergency or urgent repairs – people do want assurance that they have been heard and someone is doing something to fix their problem.
- Be careful not to drive the wrong behaviour – the automation of some processes and tasks using AI and workflow has often driven the wrong behaviour, which means the customer experience has gone down at times as well as up.
- Giving the customer reassurance of this new technology is very important and;
- When getting consent, it’s also important that you show the value to the customer to get them on board with new technology.
We’d like to continue this discussion at the next roundtable, date to be confirmed, where we’ll focus on;
- How can the service design drive positive behaviour and ethical issues around incentivisation?
- GDPR and how the future will be affected by the law such as protecting data and security;
- How to use data;
- Who should own innovations in IT, where you had the idea and a specialist developed the product?
For more information, or if you would like to join the next discussion, please contact Charlotte Brooman in our Business Development team.