How can Technology Support Local Authorites’ Policy Direction?
Future Housing Group has ‘gone live’ with new digital technology that it has said will transform its ways of working and improve customer experience. How will the technology support local authorities’ policy direction?

The housing provider, which has over 10,300 homes across the East Midlands, has launched a new customer relationship management (CRM) software. Future Housing Group worked with digital transformation partner Blacklight Software to implement the Microsoft Dynamics system, which went live in February.

Through the technology, its customer service team will be able to see all relevant information when dealing with enquiries instantly.

Previously, it has used multiple systems to access customer and property information. Still, the new software provides an overall view of customer data so that colleagues can answer questions instantly instead of having to check with other teams.

 How can local authorities use technology to meet local needs?

The need to take advantage of such digital innovations has never been greater in the housing sector. Technology innovations have enabled people, businesses, and public bodies to change the ways in which they interact, gain access to information and services, and organise their work.

Local authorities are ideally placed to find the best approaches to meeting local needs; they also must design their services in the most accessible, economical, and user-friendly way. At a time when public services face fundamental challenges, technology, digital tools, and digital approaches are central to achieving all of this.

Implementing a digital technology like the one Future Housing Group is using will enable a deeper understanding of local patterns of need and interaction, allow resources to be managed and planned, see more effective management of demand, and provide more reliable, speedy, and precise handling of tasks.

All of this will work to boost the relationship between the housing provider and its tenants because the connection between the two will be more solidified as local people’s needs will be better met, and there will be many opportunities available to implement innovative customer-focused approaches that deliver both improvement and efficiency.

The technology will improve customer services

By providing a single platform for colleagues to see information, the system being used by Future Housing Group will improve efficiency and customer service and make it easier to ass to and update its records.

Angeline Ellson, CRM Implementation Project Manager at Future Housing Group, explained that the focus is on the customers: “Ultimately, we’ve launched this to improve customer service. Our corporate plan sets out a clear vision to deliver great services, and our digital revolution is a major part of that.”

Continuing, she said that the technology will provide many benefits: “The new system will transform the way our colleagues work by allowing them to easily see what stage a customer query or request is at. This will save time for both our colleagues and our customers, which is a massive benefit both internally and externally.”

I’m so pleased with how the project has rolled out and how well everyone at Futures has embraced it. Blacklight have been amazing to work with and they’ve supported us through this whole process.

Colleagues are being supported with their transition to the new system

The project also involved working with Manifest Software Solutions, which provided support in transferring data and integrating it into the new system.

Chris Haskins, Project Manager at Blacklight, revealed that in order to see positive change happen in the housing sector, collaboration is vital, and through this projects can become even greater: “We’ve had a very collaborative relationship with Futures, and we’ve worked with lots of their employees throughout the project to make sure everything goes smoothly.

“It’s been so positive how well the team at Futures has got on board. Sometimes people are resistant to change but nobody was – in fact, their employees wanted us to do even more, so the project has become bigger than planned. They understood the benefits of the project and were really engaged.”

Future Housing Group and Blacklight held numerous training sessions and are providing ongoing support to help colleagues with their transition to the new system.

The landlord is now looking forward to building on the new CRM’s capabilities, to further improve efficiency and customer satisfaction.