Self service for housing associations

Homes for Haringey

Homes for Haringey manages homes on behalf of Haringey Council in north London.  Operating as an Arm’s Length Management Organisation (ALMO), Homes for Haringey, which was launched in 2006 and employs more than 650 staff, is responsible for the management of 21,000 tenanted and leasehold properties.

It carries out approximately 60,000 household repairs each year, as well as offering support services for tenants, the homeless and victims of domestic abuse. Its website attracts around 50,000 unique visitors per month, which means online interaction is vital to the organisation’s successful and efficient operations.

The new website has received positive feedback from customers and staff alike. It is now much more responsive, looks great and is easy to use.

Tolu Obidipe
Homes for Haringey Business Analyst

The challenge

In May 2016, Ixis were tasked with replacing Homes for Haringey’s website and existing proprietary content management system with a new site which had to be easy to update, able to support a range of modern features, and provide a high quality user experience for customers in order to meet the needs of clients and staff.

As a public body, budget constraints meant the solution had to be cost-effective to demonstrate value for money. There was also a need to embrace a modal shift to intuitive self-service models, allowing visitors to easily access information online without the need to call Homes for Haringey for advice within business hours. The organisation wanted to provide 24-hour access to up to date information to meet changing customer expectations.

Tolu Obidipe, Homes for Haringey Business Analyst, said:

A primary requirement was to improve self-service options so that tenants can find the information they are looking for without having to call our customer services team. We wanted to get more people using our online service rather than picking up the telephone.

Our previous system was outdated and not very intuitive. The aesthetics and functionality needed refreshing. Being able to feature visual content on the website for example is important to our service. While it was technically possible to include video and interactive content on our former site, it took far too long to perform and the end result was disappointing.

The solution

Ixis completely redeveloped Homes for Haringey’s web solution using the open source Drupal content management framework, which offers greater functionality, reliability and flexibility.

Using Drupal ensures realtime updates through a content management system that is easy to use.

The framework’s modular approach users to customise content presentation, choose from various components to create a truly unique and bespoke package, while offering integration with external services and other applications within the existing online portfolio.

The design, which was based on a similar Drupal site architecture delivered by Ixis for Haringey Council, fulfilled a number of key objectives including embedded video to enable the featuring of clips from online sources such as YouTube. This gave staff the opportunity to easily and instantly present information to the public in a clear and professional format.

New drag-and-drop editing options have made uploads and modifications much easier and quicker to perform. Self-service functionality was also included as part of a more intuitive user experience in order to allow website visitors to promptly find information without the need to contact staff.

Ixis also delivers ongoing service management, hosting and Drupal application support and 24/7 monitoring to Homes for Haringey to ensure the site remains accessible and secure. This includes regular security updates, development support and agile change management to allow for feature updates and service improvements.

The results

The new site has improved performance, ease of use and the aesthetical appearance of the Homes for Haringey website. Ixis and the Homes for Haringey team used an agile development approach to manage the project. This enabled efficient workflow and ensures that future development can be easily managed in smaller projects and delivered to meet changing requirements.

DIY repairs tutorials now feature on the website helping the company to focus its resources more effectively. The website is also integrated with the organisation’s social media channels such as Twitter and YouTube enabling greater visibility of these key customer engagement tools.

Tolu Obidipe said:

The new site has brought us up to date as an organisation. It now reflects the diverse and complex work that we do and our commitment to high quality customer care. The fact that we can work with Ixis to add functionality also makes me confident that it will serve us well in the future.

The number of users accessing our site on their mobile devices has increased by 42% year-on-year last year which we are delighted with as for many of our customers mobile is the most convenient way to access our services.

Ixis’s work has played a significant role in our move towards greater self-service and empowerment, allowing us to offer greater convenience for customers. We are very happy with the results.

Tolu Obidipe
Homes for Haringey Business Analyst

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