How housing associations can future-proof using chatbots & AI

Digital transformation is affecting companies worldwide across a plethora of industries, and although this process will vary greatly depending on businesses individual challenges and demands, there are a few common themes regardless of the sector that businesses should consider when they begin looking into their digital transformation strategy. These include:


  • Customer experience
  • Operational agility
  • Culture and leadership
  • Workforce enablement
  • Digital technology integration


We recently interviewed Pete Gatenby, Client Services Director at B60. B60 are a management consultancy and technology delivery agency who specialise in digital transformation. They help companies test and fail fast to allow a rapid turn around of new technologies. You can listen to the full episode here.

Today though, we’ll be looking at one sector in particular; housing associations. The housing sector is on a trajectory of rapid change and many providers are rethinking the types of services they provide and the way they deliver said services.



The Landscape


Things have changed. The hard fact is that customers (tennants, citizens,) expect answers whenever, wherever and through whichever channel they choose. Companies that recognise this will not only survive, but grow market share. When the consumer is spoilt for choice, it’s the businesses that go above which will appeal more when it’s time to choose. Committing to 24/7/365 service across the channels customers love is a surefire way for Housing Associations to future-proof.

89% of businesses compete through the level of customer service they’re able to deliverGARTNER

The Government's Deregulation Agenda inquiry will examine the volume and breadth of regulations and initiatives to reduce burdens on business, this is likely to be one of the biggest drivers for transformation in the Housing sector according to Altair. During their ‘The vision for Housing in 2025’ report, it’s predicted that by 2025 the regulatory regime in housing will be much more akin to the current approaches taken by Ofwat and Ofgem, in the way that there will be a strong focus on key areas such as pricing, competition and consumer protection.

Although we can’t predict exactly how the industry will look by 2025, existing providers should prepare for disruption, not only digitally, but also with newcomers entering the market. Housing Associations should embrace, not resist  this change - future proofing is becoming essential to ensure they don’t become obsolete.


So, what will Housing Associations look like by 2025?


By 2025, it is expected that there will be a broader range of housing products on offer to customers. These products are likely to be designed to meet the needs of niche or targeted customer markets. This is where chatbots come in. We Build Bots signature product, IntelAgent has a number of technical USP’s, one of which is ‘Swarm’ which profiles customers based on their chatbot interactions and sends different messages to different 'swarms' at scale. Anytime, for free. This feature is hugely beneficial to Housing Associations due to the breadth of customers with different sets of circumstances, needs and requirements. Some other features include:



Seamlessly pass more complex issues or chats to the most appropriate team member(s), with a synopsis of the conversation so far.



Profile customers based on their chatbot interactions, and send different messages to different 'swarms' at scale. Anytime, for free.



Easily automate and push your live promotional campaigns to relevant chats at relevant times with our 'Propensity to Purchase' analytics.


Look & Learn

Every message is analysed and used to train the AI, meaning your customer service just keeps getting better and better.



Using our in-chat analytics engine, IntelAgent tracks the sentiment and personality traits of a customer to deliver emotionally appropriate responses and actions.


Bot Editor

Our internal drag and drop interface for rapid deployment of Messenger chatbots means we’re live in days, not months.


Engaging the full spectrum of customers is likely to remain a challenge for most organisations. To tackle this, the housing provider of 2025 should consider the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in order to properly engage with customers 24/7/365.

The report, “The Secret to Winning Customers’ Hearts  with Artificial Intelligence: Add Human Intelligence” reveals that 55% of consumers actually prefer interactions enabled by a mix of AI and humans. This married with the fact that 64% of people choosing to message a business instead of picking up the telephone and a mammoth 94% of customers who “dread” contacting customer services, it’s a no brainer to integrate around the clock customer service platform into your business.

AI and automation are becoming integral and Gartner recently found that by 2020, 55% of major brands will have some kind of AI initiative in place, many of which will be focused on customer service.

Learn more about how chatbots and AI can revolutionise Housing Associations and how the landscape is likely to look by 2025 by downloading our ‘Housing Associations of the Future’ whitepaper here.