Yarlington Housing Group (YHG) is a housing associaton which started out as South Somerset Homes in 1999 and rebranded to Yarlington Housing Group in 2009. They are now a leading housing provider with over 10,000 properties and 23,000 tenants across Somerset, Devon and Dorset.
As part of their Next Gen strategy they committed to the launch of a new 24/7 digital self-service platform to communicate with tenants more effectively. Yarlington came to Active Housing with two clear cut goals.
The first goal was to develop an online service that can serve their tenants on any device in the most economic, efficient and effective manner. Yarlington required a zero-touch solution, fully integrated with their existing Capita Open Housing platform.
The second goal was to achieve an ambitious target of 80% of transactions online by the end of 2018. This would save Yarlington almost £1,000,000, equating to building 25 new homes, housing 100 people, installing 451 new boilers or replacing 1,773 doors.
Understanding that a quality experience was required to achieve it’s 80% online ambitions, Yarlington set out on a path to provide their tenants with a digital offering to rival the service-level of their existing call centre, which handled an average of 80,000 calls per year, approx 25,000 of which were to report repairs. Active Housing collaborated with Yarlington to prioritise the feature roadmap across a series of delivery phases and define the processes of two-way integration with an array of Capita modules.
The services delivered at launch allowed the tenant to easily register and log in, quickly navigate the system via a personalised dashboard, and amend consents and preferences via a dedicated privacy dashboard. Customers are also able to manage one or more tenancies, including the ability to:
View rent account / sub account balance and statements
View rent charge breakdown
Raise, diagnose and self-appoint a repair
View soft-fix advice and other repair information
View repair history, cancel or reschedule appointments
View and update personal information and contact details
View and update the details of people living in the property
View planned maintenance information
Browse dynamic, service-specific FAQs
Interact with Yarlington via two way messaging
View local Housing Officer details
Commence the process of ending a tenancy
View latest Yarlington news & events
Rate the quality of the information on any given page
With the wide array of new capabilities of their new online service, Yarlington were able to provide an enhanced and comprehensive customer experience that surpassed what they were delivering in their call centres.
The new portal also allowed Yarlington administrators to benefit from:
Greater control over repair diagnostic content, business rules and SOR codes via dedicated self-administration facility within the Active Housing ‘Active Repairs’ diagnostic product.
Improved accuracy of logged repair information.
Greater control over general content within the platform via integrated CMS.
The ability to commence the registration process on behalf of a tenant.
What do the customers think?
"I find the Yarlington tenant portal quick and easy to use, I was able to raise and book my own repairs appointment in a couple of minutes, much easier than calling in and waiting in a queue." - Yarlington Tenant
The digital journey so far is very promising indeed. In under 18 months since implementing the solution, the following results were achieved:
75% of households have online accounts
50% reduction in inbound calls
11,000+ tenant logins per month
86% of tenants said it was easy to book a repair online
96% of eligible repairs were reported online
"We’ve even had a 101 year old resident sign up, showing just how easy and convenient MyYarlington is." - Chris Reed, Digital Development Manager at Yarlington Housing Group
Overall, the MyYarlington portal project was a huge success, and led to further developments including the Yarlington Tenant Onboarding System, a digital application form which allows prospective tenants to apply for a property online. In 2019, Yarlington also went on to win ‘Digital Landlord of the Year’ at the UK Housing Awards. This was a fantastic achievement for both organisations, and a testament to all the hard work that has been put in over the years. Both organisations now look forward to continuing to work together, including the delivery of a tenant portal for Yarlington’s new partners, the Radian Group.