We recently published our landmark report – ‘The State of CX in Housing Associations 2023’
The report analysed 24,600 Trustpilot reviews across housing associations and found critical issues in tenant experience.
Our data scientists found that focusing on improving tenant-management interaction, lack of maintenance and repair processes, could increase tenant satisfaction by 17%.
You can read the full report here, and we’ve given a short preview below some of the issues identified around tenant experience in the report.
The repair theme received a negative rating with a score of an Adorescore of -40 (on a range of -100 to 100), indicating widespread dissatisfaction among tenants. Many tenants expressed dissatisfaction with the repair work done on their properties and shared their complaints on Trustpilot. They noted that even basic maintenance tasks required multiple visits from repair workers who lacked the necessary tools and skills, leading to frustration. Tenants had to oversee the repairs themselves and live with the damage during the lengthy process. The comments provided highlight these issues in more detail, with tenants mentioning wastefulness, poor quality of work, delays in response, and high service charges.
Repair Wait Time
Tenants frequently express frustration about the lengthy process of getting repairs done, which is mentioned in 8% of the comments and resulted in a ‘Very Poor’ Adorescore of -48. A key concern is the reporting of complaints, with tenants feeling that their concerns are not taken seriously or completely ignored. Even when repairs are scheduled, tenants often wait for extended periods, sometimes spanning weeks or even months. This delay can cause significant anxiety, especially when there are safety hazards in the home, particularly for households with young children. The following comments provide additional insight into this issue:
- “Completion of work takes months, current job waiting to be completed stands at 18 months, will probably be 2 years before they complete.”
- “We kept chasing and chasing yet there was no response. In the end, our child’s due date crept nearer and nearer. For the health of our child, we went ahead ourselves, repaired the damp, and footed the bill.”
Questions TP04, TP05, and TP10 in the TSM survey address the satisfaction levels regarding home maintenance, safety, and cleanliness of communal areas. These questions fall under the ‘General Maintenance’ theme, which encompasses various issues such as faulty boilers, burst pipes, electrical faults, cleanliness, and pest infestations. This theme constitutes the second largest portion (21% of comments) and receives a ‘Very Poor’ Adorescore of -51. Comparatively, there is an 8% decrease in positive comments and a 13% increase in negative comments within this theme when compared to the overall dataset. The predominant emotions driving these comments are disgust, anger, and sadness.
The questions TP06 – TP09 in the TSM cover the satisfaction of tenants with their landlord’s responsiveness, communication, fairness, and handling of complaints. These questions fall under the ‘Tenant/Management Interaction’ theme, which is the most prominent theme in terms of volume. However, this theme received a low Adorescore of -40, indicating a very poor rating. A comparison with the overall dataset shows a decrease in positive comments by 5% and an increase in negative comments by 4%. The main emotions expressed in these comments are anger, sadness, and disgust.
The sub themes within this theme revolve around the timing, attitude, and method of responses from the housing associations. Tenants have raised complaints about the disorganisation of the housing associations during different stages of customer interaction. These complaints include a lack of follow-up communication, disregard for repair requests and queries, and a general lack of empathy and understanding towards tenants’ living conditions. For instance, one tenant expressed frustration about the housing association’s failure to repair her elderly father’s door despite her repeated attempts to address the issue.
Ignoring complaints like the one mentioned above is the primary cause of Ombudsman complaints in the dataset. Tenants often face difficulties in contacting their housing association through various channels, which further aggravates their dissatisfaction. This frustration continues to build until they feel compelled to file a formal report.
Let’s take a look at each of the sub themes for tenant interaction…
The Phone Call sub theme appeared in 20% of the comments and received a ‘Very Poor’ Adorescore of -46. A common issue raised by tenants is the lack of communication logging and follow-up from the housing association, which leads to frustration as complaints are repeatedly made without any record of the interactions. This lack of accountability is concerning and contributes to difficulties in reaching the housing association.
Some tenants are reporting encounters with rude and unsympathetic call handlers when they manage to get through. For example, one tenant described an incident where the call handler spoke condescendingly, was rude, and lacked basic empathy. The tenant’s questions were not answered directly, and the call was abruptly cut off, followed by a sarcastic and nasty comment from the handler. This unpleasant conversation left the tenant in tears.
Overall, the Phone Call subtheme highlights the problems tenants face due to inadequate communication logging, lack of follow-up, and negative experiences with call handlers, leading to increased dissatisfaction.
The Phone Call sub theme appeared in 8% of the comments and received a ‘Very Poor’ Adorescore of -53. Similar issues encountered in phone call responses are also prevalent in email responses, particularly regarding a lack of logging and inadequate replies.
In summary, the Phone Call subtheme highlights the recurring problems tenants face in both phone and email interactions, including the lack of communication logging, unsatisfactory replies, and the housing association’s failure to address issues effectively.
The positive aspect is that tenants have a favourable attitude towards live chat services. With a ‘fair’ Adorescore of +20, tenants appreciate the speed and helpfulness of using live chat compared to phone calls and emails. This highlights the importance for housing associations to integrate and promote live chat on their websites, ensuring staff are available to respond to and log customer queries. A tenant’s experience with live chat for a repair update was highly positive, with fantastic help and support from both the live chat representative and the repairs team, resulting in a positive outcome for the tenant’s query.
Anti social behaviour
Question TP12 in the TSM survey focuses on tenant satisfaction with the landlord’s handling of anti-social behaviour. Although it did not rank among the top three insights, we included it due to its presence in the TSM. Our analysis revealed that anti-social behaviour was mentioned in 5% of comments, with a ‘Very Poor’ Adorescore of -65, making it the worst-performing theme in the dataset. There was a significant decrease of 14% in positive emotion and a 22% increase in negative comments compared to the overall dataset.
The key sub themes associated with anti-social behaviour include crime, violence, drug dealing, abuse, and threatening behaviour, which often coexist according to the comments analysed. Many tenants feel unsafe in their homes due to ongoing abusive and threatening behaviour from some of their neighbours. Families and older adults are particularly affected by this issue. Additionally, crimes such as vandalism, assault, drug dealing, and burglaries have created a climate of fear that restricts tenants from leaving their homes, significantly impacting their quality of life.
Adoreboard’s analysis of 24,600 Trustpilot reviews has highlighted the critical issues faced by housing association tenants, emphasising the importance of tenant listening and accountability in social housing. The UK Government’s call for regular tenant surveys recognises these issues, and Adoreboard’s predictive insights platform can support these surveys effectively.
Our analysis aligns with the TSM standard, revealing that Tenant-Management Interaction, General Maintenance, and the Repair Process significantly impact tenants emotionally. However, many complaints remain unaddressed, leading to tenant frustration and dissatisfaction. Housing associations must prioritise listening and prompt, accurate responses to address these concerns, improving living standards, industry regulation, and tenant satisfaction.
Adoreboard’s predictive insights platform offers the necessary tools to enhance tenant satisfaction and drive successful social housing reform. Clarion, the largest Housing Association in the UK, has already benefited from our platform, utilising it to listen to tenant concerns and find efficient solutions.
Click here to access a complimentary analysis of 1,000 rows of customer feedback data and book a demo to leverage our platform for deeper insights into tenants’ needs and compliance with the new TSM procedures.