Latest data released by Housemark today forecasts a four-percentage points reduction in customer satisfaction levels at year end compared to pre-pandemic norms. The figures also show rising complaints and patchy digitisation, with evidence that the 2020 pandemic customer experience gains have been lost in 2021.
The figures have been released as part of Housemark’s autumn Quarterly Forecast report, which uses data and qualitative survey information from more than 200 social landlords from across the UK to provide high-level insight, forecast outturns and share best practice examples, giving landlords the confidence to make in-year decisions about the future of their businesses.
Headline findings for July-September 2021 include:
-We forecast overall satisfaction will be 4 percentage points lower over winter than pre-pandemic norms.
– Innovative landlords are receiving 50%+ of contact via digital channels. Sector-wide, we forecast a measured rise in digital contact to the end of March 2022 at 28% of all contact – roughly the same place as March 2021. Despite digitalisation making great leaps in 2020 we have found little evidence of progress in this area during 2021.
-Arrears levels remain 30% higher than they were pre-pandemic. As tenants’ incomes are squeezed by increased living costs alongside the removal of Universal Credit uplifts, we expect to see continued increases up to the start of 2022.
-28% more properties are vacant across the sector than pre-pandemic. We forecast that vacancy rates will not return to pre-pandemic levels until mid-2022.
– While individual landlords’ results vary, we have not yet seen non-emergency repairs volumes return to the monthly averages we recorded before the pandemic, and rates remain around 9% lower than 2019/20.
The full autumn Quarterly Forecast report is available to read here. Alongside the report, individual members with six months of data collection have also received bespoke forecasts – plotting their own progress alongside that of the sector as a whole.
Talking about the report findings, Housemark Chief Executive Laurice Ponting said:
“As landlords continue to navigate a complex landscape, taking stock of current performance and making plans for 2022 and beyond, this quarterly report and forecast provides vital sector context and the insight needed to make a difference.
“Landlords have been reporting operational difficulties impacting the customer experience – material and labour shortages, scarcity and delays – most notably in servicing responsive repairs, but also affecting major works and lettings. Following the publication of the draft tenant satisfaction metrics by the regulator, we know that customer experience is under the spotlight and that landlords will have to respond quickly. Housemark is here to work with landlords to provide insights they can’t uncover alone and have the confidence they need to make decisions that make a difference to manage these operational complexities.”
To find out more about the on-time insight available as part of Housemark membership, contact us.