Our top five lessons learnt from 12 months of COVID-19 impact data

Spring is in the air. The long weekend symbolised new beginning – as nature flourished in the unseasonal (albeit short lived) warm weather, with the next phase of unlocking confirmed and a new start with the 2021/22 financial year for the majority of us, we’re allowing ourselves to feel hopeful and look to the future.

But first a quick look back, to see how what we learned in 2020 can accelerate our success and sustain progress in 2021. Twelve months ago, days after the national lockdown announcement, our monthly COVID-19 impact analysis launched to help landlords navigate the unfolding complexity and quantify the impact, contextualise their performance and forecast out turns.

We have seen wide participation from across the sector and now have a full 12 months of COVID-19 impact analysis. Combined with 20 years of unrivalled data and insight, Housemark holds a unique position – we know what good looks like, both in normal times and during periods of disruption and change. With a year of sector resilience under our belts, we can also see what is leading the way for 2021.

From our unique data driven position, I’m sharing our top five lessons for landlords to take into the new financial year. 

1) Make sure that you understand what your customers are telling you, and that you act on this feedback. Our latest report found that customer experience is the top strategic priority for landlords. Directly strengthening engagement with residents, delivering a first-class service every day, and directly addressing White Paper proposals are key themes across the sector. We saw an initial spike in customer satisfaction at the start of the pandemic – to continue to deliver enhanced satisfaction you need to continue the strengthened dialogue established during the pandemic, listening to your customers and acting on what they tell you. Do you have the tools and systems in place to do this effectively?  Sustaining the early pandemic advantage in customer experience is key for landlords to deliver against increased expectations.

2) Channel gains from hybrid working and digitalisation towards engagement, communication and support. The transformation of ways of working and increased digitalisation has resulted in a productivity uptick, but is your organisation using this increased capacity strategically? Going into the new financial year, align this productivity to your organisational priorities by leveraging people, data and technology.

3) Now is the time to maintain agility and pace. We have seen that landlords who understand their operating context to respond to external factors more quickly have fared better throughout the pandemic, reporting stronger performance than those who have been slower to respond or reverted to previous ways of doing things. With an unpredictable year ahead, landlords need to remain nimble.

4) Use data to make the right calls and act at the right time. Our analysis has shown that using data to drive evidence-based decisions and take appropriate action is driving resilience. At Housemark, we have seen an increase in customer requests for support to understand current performance positions in their operational context – providing a solid foundation for change and assurance for key strategic and operational decisions.

5) Think differently about service delivery - redefine what’s possible. Organisation design is a key strategic priority - we’d expect to see around 1 in 5 restructuring their organisation in any year, but in 2021/22, based on our UK wide data this has grown to almost half. The sector has an opportunity to build back better and now is the time to redefine what’s possible for your customers, your people, and your business.

As you continue to wrestle with big decisions and competing priorities, you need insight you can trust from a partner you can trust. At Housemark, we’re here to give you greater confidence to make decisions that make a difference.

Let’s work together. Contact elaine.middleton@housemark.co.uk to find out more about Housemark can help you redefine what’s possible.

By Amanda Leonard

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