Database benefits

As an increasing number of social housing providers focus on how they can become easier for residents to deal with, more pressure is being put on suppliers to buy into their digital strategies and support their initiatives, according to The Window Company (Contracts), which has invested £tens-of-thousands in a locally designed customer database.

The SQL/Access database has details of every property where work is planned or has been carried out by The Window Company (Contracts), and is now linked to a bespoke caller ID system that identifies any resident who telephones and instantly brings up their customer record.

The database streamlines and enhances the resident experience, particularly on projects where The Window Company (Contracts) is the RLO, but it also has another layer of flexibility built in that social housing providers increasingly demand.

For example, providers can request customised reports on everything from the number of surveys carried out to the resident satisfaction ratings on any particular project. These can be automatically converted into Excel spread sheets so that clients can add them to their own systems quickly and easily, and can even include the client’s own unique property reference numbers.

By employing a specialist programmer to work on the database every month, The Window Company (Contracts) ensures that it is always delivering incremental improvements identified both by its own team and from client and resident feedback.

David Thornton, Chairman of The Window Company (Contracts), said that it is already planning further resident friendly initiatives using the database such as text messaging for appointment reminders. He also expects to be able to give clients password protected access to relevant areas of the database in the future to allow them to view installation schedules and pull off their own reports.

“The database was originally created to improve our internal efficiency, and to give us an easy way to analyse our performance and generate reports for clients,” David said. “Increasingly though, we are seeing the benefits of being able to share its functionality with clients, so that they can tell us which reports are most useful to them and which features we can add to benefit residents.

“It’s proving to be the perfect tool for collaborating with clients and will be the focus of considerably more investment moving forward.”

The Window Company Contracts Ltd
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