Providing 28,000 homes across the South East, a member of the g15 and with assets of £1.25bn AmicusHorizon is a strong regional housing association. The association also builds homes and between 2011 and 2018 it will have built 975 new homes. AmicusHorizon aims to be innovative too, winning a string of awards for delivering a great customer experience and this lies at the heart of its investment in and use of technology. One of the primary areas where technology has played a key role recently is in financial inclusion. AmicusHorizon, which has extremely high customer service standards, wanted a mobile app that not only manages the financial inclusion process in the field but that can also help secure more income for residents. 1st Touch was chosen to supply the mobile software and by integrating it with its existing CRM solution, AmicusHorizon can provide its financial inclusion officers with all the relevant information they need to help the customers that they are visiting.
As AmicusHorizon’s Director of Technology Jeanette Alfano notes: “What customers wanted was for us to know who they were when they called us. 1st Touch is our mobile solution and it allows us to take our knowledge of our customers to their door. The combination of welfare reform, our CRM development and 1st Touch mobile allows us to provide a really strong offering for our customers. It enables us to identify which of our customers might struggle and to be able to discuss this in their home makes a big difference to them. Through the steps we’ve taken, we’ve been able to manage things successfully for our customers before they have become a problem and our customers seem to really like the service.”
In practice, financial inclusions cases made in the CRM system are written into Microsoft Outlook as appointments. 1st Touch then polls Outlook for the appointment and then brings it in into 1st Touch with all the specific case and relevant background information required. Prior to a visit, the system can text residents to let them know that a member of the AmicusHorizon team is on the way. Once with the residents, the financial inclusion officers can then sit down with them to identify possible areas of help. This might include reviewing training opportunities for those keen to return to work or identifying unclaimed benefits.
In operational terms, the efficiency benefits of the new system are clear. With the app in place, each financial inclusion officer is able to achieve two more visits a day and the quality of those visits is higher. It is also felt that satisfaction has increased too. Lone worker safety is also boosted, as AmicusHorizon is aware of when officers are en route, with a client or have just finished a job.
Benefits of particular note though are a marked reduction in arrears and the significant amount of extra income raised for residents. As Robert Stewart, Business Systems Manager at AmicusHorizon says: “With the financial inclusion app in place, the most interesting figure of all is that we managed to secure £1.7million of additional income for our residents to help them through the challenges of welfare reform. 1st Touch also helped us to reduce our arrears from 3.71% to 3.39 %.”
Jeanette Alfano echoes Robert Stewart’s comments and feels that the success of the financial inclusion app has wider internal benefits too. In her view: “We are becoming more efficient and effective in the areas where we are using mobile technology. This has been great, as it has allowed me to secure the buy-in from the board that we need to roll out mobile technology across other areas the organisation. In fact without the 1st Touch option we wouldn’t have got this far with mobile working.”
Looking ahead AmicusHorizon is now aiming to create ‘one view of a property’. This will combine repairs history along with inspections and property history in one place. With 1st Touch this too will be deliverable to the customer’s door. AmicusHorizon also plans to install a self-service facility and 1st Touch is helping to inform the decisions about what should be offered to customers who will use this service.
Commenting on the use of the financial inclusion app at AmicusHorizon, Robert Dent CEO of 1st Touch says, “We are aware of many successful uses of our software but what I have seen AmicusHorizon achieve in terms of helping its residents is extremely impressive. We look forward to working closely with the team there to identify other areas where mobile technology can play an equally beneficial role.”
A YouTube video of this case study can be seen at: http://youtu.be/UFtADSnCtVA