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Helping Salford housing company connect with tenants.

The Project

With recent legislation changes, Salix Homes needed to ensure tenants were aware of the need to pay their rent directly. Increased communication was vital and a recent survey of Salix tenants showed that around 40% of them claimed not to have access to the internet, but used Facebook. The housing association needed to reach out to their tenants via this channel and engage with a much wider audience.

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A SUITE OF APPS

Salix has an extremely well engaged Facebook audience, so the goal was to maximise this and help communicate the ease with which payments could be made online.

It was decided to create three separate apps to cover each of the key areas, simplifying the message in each. For a tenant, it was important to be able to report a repair in real time or to pay rent on the go, when they have time to login.

For the housing association it is a step forward in managing the relationship with their customers, dealing with their requests quickly and take ownership of their individual needs.

The app improves customer service as it is able to re-direct the enquires from the social media platform to the team that can most efficiently deal with them.

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A fantastic solution

"Like any housing provider, we are increasingly dependent on our tenants having access to the Internet, yet the stark reality is there are 8.7 million adults in the UK that have never been online – and worryingly almost half are social housing tenants.

But as we grapple with the challenges of digital inclusion brought about by welfare reform, it’s clear that there has been an explosion in the onset of social media. Many tenants will tell you they’ve never turned on a PC before, but they have been on Facebook.

Nationally 31 million people have a Facebook account and 22 million log on every day. On our own Facebook site we’ve seen a massive 90% increase in interactions in the past year alone, with the majority of users accessing social media via their phones.

At Salix Homes we saw this as a massive opportunity – an opportunity to tap into the realities of our tenants’ lives and align our mode of engagement with theirs.

We undertook a tenant survey around internet usage and discovered that 40% were regular Facebook users, so thought that social media could hold the key to achieving digital inclusion.

We’ve now become one of the first housing providers in the country to enable tenants to pay their rent via Facebook, through the development of our innovative Facebook App with Cunning Plan, revolutionising the way tenants pay their rent and access services such as reporting repairs and getting advice on money management.

We felt Cunning Plan really understood our needs and came up with a fantastic solution to help us connect with our tenants. We worked really closely, and felt their passion in getting it right, and help us to achieve our aims. Communication was excellent, and they were happy to make tweaks as we went along – the flexibility was fantastic. We’d be keen to work with them again."

Sarah McNally, Salix Homes