Home comforts: driving a better digital experience for housing association customers

    Housing associations (HAs) have been on a digitisation drive for several years. As with any sector-wide digital transformations, some organisations prove to be early adopters, while others take more time to make change happen.  Whatever stage your HA has reached on its digital transformation journey, the switch to become ‘digital first’ is a priority. This is due to several pressing factors:  

    • Customers demanding seamless digital experiences - on all types of devices, especially mobile

    • The Levelling Up and Regeneration Act 2023 putting pressure on HAs to embrace the idea of building communities 

    • A greater societal focus on aspects of health and wellbeing; from personal finance to children’s’ and adults’ lifestyles 

    • Mergers between many smaller HAs, meaning they require new platforms, websites, apps and other digital products 

     Digital transformation will continue to play a major part in successfully modernising delivery of services and improving how customers access them. Forward-thinking HAs are already cementing their future by calling on technology to boost: 

    •  Digital experience

    •  Customer self-service

    •  Cloud solutions

    •  Data migration

    •  Cybersecurity  

    These are all service areas MMT’s experts are standing by to provide. Below, we take a closer look at each of these aspects of digital transformation and discover how they can drive a better experience for customers and value for the organisation.  

    Digital experience 

    According to research by Inside Housing magazine and Futr conducted in 2023, 80% of HAs saw a rise in demand for digitised services from their customers during an 18-month period. 

    In part, this is due to the younger demographic of new HA customers. As digital natives, they expect to be able to interact with organisations using platforms that include Facebook and WhatsApp; and they are increasingly mobile first. 

    As a result, the same share of HAs - 80% - say their focus on digital transformation has increased. Yet 50% of the respondents also reveal they are yet to begin implementing such a strategy.  

    With the current spike in demand for HA properties likely to lead to even greater calls for digital customer service, organisations can’t afford to stand still in the battle to build better digital experiences. In this industry, tenders are reviewed often and competition is fierce. 

    Meanwhile, there’s a groundswell towards creating a ‘sense of place’: HAs are marketing specific developments for a highly targeted audience, so digital communication is a key brick in overall brand building. 

    Max Lucas-Drysdale headshot

    The market is pointing towards creation of these independent, standalone brands. As part of MSQ, MMT has the data and insight at our fingertips to join forces with our digital expertise and ensure HAs tap into this trend, by successfully engaging their key audiences.

    Max Lucas-Drysdale

    Housing Association industry expert, MMT

    MMT excels at creating digital customer experiences to be proud of, baking in strategy, UX and product design, engineering and technology. Moreover, HAs can be sure we’ll consider the widest customer demographic: see our recent insights into inclusive digital experience design for more details. 

    Customer self-service 

    Of course, one of the key drivers of demand for a better digital experience among HA customers is their quest for convenience.  

    Published in 2023 by the UK government, the results of a major survey found that nearly one in five (17%) HA customers were unhappy with the level of service provided by the organisation managing their accommodation. 

    Chief among their issues is the time taken to respond to queries - or complaints. Making digital channels a key pillar of customer service for self-service and dialogue should seem a given, but in another survey 45% of HAs admit they’re underinvesting in this area. 

    There’s lots of evidence across sectors to show that self-service channels are now expected by customers. With 77% of them saying it improves their relationship with an organisation there’s no excuse for not reviewing provision. This could encompass everything from maintenance queries to payment management. 

    Increasingly, this includes integrating your portal with other digital solutions such as CRM and marketing tools, rethinking your UX journeys and website features. This offers a conversion boost and is a great alternative to simply publishing lots of content on the site and expecting people to track down what they need. 

    Speak to MMT’s experts about re-engineering or designing from scratch a digital self-service portal that can take customer satisfaction to the next level. 

    Cloud solutions 

    There are multiple benefits for HAs which move their systems to the cloud. These include cost savings associated with on-premise servers, removal of the need to handle multiple software contracts, and improved cybersecurity

    As 50% of HAs told the Inside Housing study that their organisation doesn’t possess all of the digital skills and resource required to get cloud-based operations up and running, it’s often necessary to source external experts. 

    MMT’s cloud systems engineers are highly experienced in developing, operating and maintaining cloud computing systems and solutions for modern, connected organisations. Taking care of optimisation, standardisation and governance of cloud computing applications is how we make cloud computing easy for you and your digital teams. 

    Data migration 

    HAs claim that poor data quality is the second-biggest barrier to providing a better digital experience to their customers, behind only the lack of in-house skills and resources mentioned above. 

    Moving a company’s databases to the cloud can be complex - but there are big rewards for getting it right. 

    MMT takes away the challenges from data migration by using best practice and cloud migration frameworks to streamline the process and deliver results quickly. We conduct analysis of technical and business needs, assess risks, and provide the roadmap to deliver migration services in optimal time, with a focus on bringing value to your business. 

    Our strategic approach to digital product iterations ensures users are brought on the journey, and are joined by others.  


    HAs have a huge amount of customer data in their systems. That level of information is highly attractive to cyber criminals. In 2022, one large HA in the UK suffered a cybersecurity breach via a suspected malware attack. The organisation said that the incident affected phone lines and other IT systems, and it advised residents not to make contact by phone unless they needed an emergency repair. 

    Unfortunately, such incidents are growing in prevalence across sectors. It’s not a matter of whether systems will come under attack, but when. 

    To ensure your HA is doing all it can to keep customers’ information safe, speak to MMT’s cybersecurity experts. We’ll help to protect your computer systems and networks from information disclosure or damage of hardware, software or data. When a network is secured, potential threats are blocked from entering it or spreading to others. 

    Better digital experience is a positive outcome of wider, complex digital transformations. And the bedrock of long-term success, bringing together all of the requirements outlined above, is technology enablement. 

    Brick by brick, transformational technology is building the best possible digital experience, and our experienced team is here to help.

    HAs need a clear roadmap from the outset, along with regular reviews. This ensures the plan is aligned to business objectives, and no stakeholders are left out or deadlines missed. Just as important is getting regular customer insights - so that you know services which are promised and expected are actually available and being used.

    Mike Postle

    Product Lead, MMT

    To find out more about how we helped one of the major housing associations deliver best-in-class digital experiences for their community, explore this case study.  

    To get access to more case studies and to discover more about how MMT’s experts can help your organisation reshape the digital experience for your customers, contact us by filling in the form below: 

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