Customers helped our app 'appen!

Our in-house designed customer app is a true collaboration between customers, staff and IT specialists.

Almost 16,000 of our customers are now using the app on their smartphone or tablet to manage their account, pay their rent or access our lettings portal.

Customers, along with staff across the organisation, were involved in the planning and design from the get-go, resulting in an app that even the most nervous technophobe can easily understand and use.

James Brennan, one of our longstanding “involved customers” who work with us to improve our services, was delighted to be invited to be part of the project group tasked with taking our app from its conception in 2018 to delivery last year. 

“I really enjoyed being part of this project, contributing my thoughts and ideas. Then I helped to test the app thoroughly so adjustments could be made before it went live,” said James, recalling pre-launch glitches such as a link that took users to a blank page and a longwinded log-in process.

“It’s very satisfying to see the app out there and working and to know that I played a part in its development. I use it all the time to check on my rent and to submit queries.

“I’m looking forward to the next stage when customers will be able to report a repair quickly via the app rather than have to phone it in which can take a while as although your call gets answered quickly, you then hold in a queue to speak to someone about the repair.

“The app will give us customers more control as we’ll be able to report the repair and choose a convenient appointment date, as well as reschedule it easily if something crops up.”

Customers using the app can view their rent balance and payment history, make a rent payment, download a rent statement and proof of payment and update their personal details.

Gary Hardy, Director of Housing, said: “We designed the app to make our services more accessible to our customers and allow them to take better ownership of their accounts. From the beginning we involved and listened to customers and colleagues throughout the business to ensure our app was simple to use and encouraged self-service, rather than customers have to call us with straightforward queries that could be answered through information on the app. This, in turn, frees up our customer hub to deal with the more complex customer queries.

“We worked hard on getting the basics right, initially focusing on rent payments, and have since added a function enabling customers to access our lettings portal Midland Heart Homes.

“The corona pandemic has delayed our introduction of repairs reporting but it’s hoped to include it on the app by summer next year. We know a further 18,000 customers have downloaded the app but not yet tried it out and believe being able to report repairs at the touch of a button will see a big increase in app usage.”

Working on the design of our customer app is one of the many interesting projects our team of “involved customers” have participated in and their valuable input helps us to improve our services for all customers. To find out more about becoming an involved customer email customerscrutiny@midlandheart.org.uk or go to: https://www.midlandheart.org.uk/my-home/getting-involved/

There's also a virtual drop in session on Microsoft Teams on the first Tuesday of every month where one of the customer scrutiny team will be happy to answer any questions about getting involved. Drop by any time between 10.30am and 12 noon by clicking on this link https://bit.ly/ScrutinyQA 

5th October 2020 | 2020