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6 Unmissable AI Opportunities for Social Housing Providers


The sheer level of expectations and demands on the social housing sector is sky-high and increasing by the day.

Yet despite the challenges, we believe that there are countless unmissable technical opportunities out there for the taking too; opportunities that stand to bolster the quality of life for customers, improve business prospects, and boost productivity.

And in our opinion, those opportunities lie firmly within AI.

AI in Business - Beyond the Headlines

Before we go any further, we need to demystify artificial intelligence (AI) a little.

AI is capable of far more than generating text, images, and videos from a prompt. Despite the anguished headlines about AI, there is a quiet majority of AI applications out there that are making people’s work more productive and helping them add more value in their roles.

Artificial intelligence can be used in several hugely value-added ways across all sectors, including data analysis, data entry, automated chatbots, call triaging, pattern recognition, and far, far more.

All in all, AI is effectively a calculator for words and data. It’s not a scary thing to be feared or avoided. It’s a practical tool that’s here to stay - and can help to significantly lighten the load when used properly.

AI is Only as Strong as Its Data

There’s a concept in IT, called “Garbage in, Garbage out.” If you feed any computer system incorrect data to use in its calculations, then it is naturally going to give you an incorrect result.

AI is no exception. Given that AI is a calculator for data, any AI tool’s outputs are only as good as the data it’s given to refer from. If you’re feeding an AI algorithm poor data, it will inevitably provide poor results.

This also means that any organisation looking to adopt AI tools needs to be crystal clear about what they want those tools to do. They need to know what processes they would like AI to carry out and how feasible that expectation is - but they also need to have the correct data in place to support those aims.

So, without further ado, let’s explore 6 pivotal areas of social housing that AI can help transform for the better.

6 AI Opportunities for Housing Associations

Data Analysis 

Housing associations undoubtedly have a lot of data to juggle; both historic data and brand new information that comes in every day at breakneck speed! The sheer volume of data in play can obscure important insights about overall business health, customer sentiment, underlying property issues, new opportunities for productivity, and more.

However, the ever-pressured social housing sector is unlikely to have the capacity for a team of human data-trawlers to dredge this data, make sense of it all, and uncover the answers the business seeks.

AI tools can bridge this gap. They are great at analysing, grouping, and recognising patterns in data at a speed virtually impossible to even the most spreadsheet-savvy person.

And with the ability to come to speedier conclusions, you can implement real, data-driven change far more quickly.

Customer Service

AI presents a wide range of practical use cases for social housing contact centre functionality. Let’s start with a simple but potentially hugely impactful use case - AI-driven virtual agents (chatbots).

Housing associations can pre-load a chatbot with common questions that have straightforward, predictable answers, and can encourage customers to head there for answers to simple queries. This saves your contact centre teams from having to field repetitive, straightforward questions such as tenancy rules or how to operate the specific models of white goods at your properties.

Properly triaging and transferring incoming calls can be incredibly time and effort-intensive too. AI call-handling tools can help triage and direct calls almost instantly without any human input.

In order to create a great service, you need to understand customer sentiment. After all, if you don’t even know if your customers are unhappy, you can’t start to put things right. With access to the wealth of customer history that’s nestled within systems like Dynamics 365 and your contact centre functionality, AI tools can evaluate each customer’s current sentiment towards the housing provider and evaluate overall customer sentiment too.

This sentiment analysis can also inform call-handling AI tools and human operatives to best assist customers who may be particularly irate or upset.

AI tools can also be used by managers to swiftly analyse the vast amount of data at play within a contact centre, including incoming request types, call answering times, customer service flashpoints, and more.

Property Operations & Asset Management

When it comes to repairs and building maintenance, housing associations have three main priorities:

  • Fixing a problem first time wherever possible
  • Reducing the overall cost of repairs and replacements
  • Providing preventative maintenance to avoid larger problems later on.

Thankfully, AI can assist with those last two - chiefly through predictive maintenance.

With access to the entire contact centre system, an AI tool could analyse all current and historical repair requests and identify patterns at a scale and granularity that would take a human far longer.

Let’s use boiler maintenance as an example. AI could review all of the boiler repair and maintenance requests on record and identify key data points like the make and model of the boiler; its age; its location; and the time of year.

With this information, the AI tool may be able to identify if there are any circumstances that cause certain models of boiler to fail, such as “gas boiler X is most likely to fail in the third year due to corroded pipes; usually around April as it starts to get warmer.”

Armed with this information, the housing association can perform proactive maintenance on those models and start investing in hardier boilers, which may ultimately reduce repair and maintenance costs over time.

AI tools can also be used to allocate subcontractors to handle all relevant outstanding fixes in one area, on one day - potentially saving on the callout and travel fees involved in sending them all over the place!

Business Management

Housing associations have a lot of data to grapple with. The sheer quantity of data floating around inside the organisation can be particularly problematic when management teams need to make data-driven decisions.

However, AI can help analyse large quantities of business data, notice relevant patterns, and generate reports with relative ease.

If you are using AI as part of your call-handling functions, it can also be tasked with collecting contact centre efficiency data. For example, how satisfied are customers with your AI chatbot? How quickly do your human operatives resolve certain types of calls? How quickly do repair requests get resolved? And what productivity gains can be made to help your call handling teams’ jobs more straightforward?

And circling back to sentiment analysis for a moment, when business leaders have a truthful picture of overall customer sentiment, they can better formulate business strategies that maximise customer satisfaction.

Sales & Marketing

Untargeted, broad marketing messages just don’t cut it anymore. There’s real power in personalising marketing campaigns to different individuals with different requirements - and AI can help you do this at scale.

With the right sales and marketing data to draw from, AI tools can help you identify lucrative new market segments, uncover tailored messaging themes that are going to resonate with your audience, and can delve into past preferences and interactions to create strong buyer profiles.

But with more granular audience segmentation comes a need to create a greater number of individual tailored campaigns. Worry not, overworked marketers - generative AI tools have you covered here too! Generative AI can, of course, be used to generate images and text for your marketing campaigns. This stands to vastly improve the productivity of even the smallest marketing team.

When your marketing does a better job of bringing interested parties in, sales stand to benefit too! The segmentation and preferences identified by AI can help salespeople start meaningful conversations with interested parties and can help them greatly with rapport building and objection handling.

Customer Wellbeing

Let’s finish with the most important variable at play here: genuine customer wellbeing.

We can wax lyrical all we like about how AI implementation can benefit housing associations on a technical, business, and financial front. But what really matters is how your AI implementation is going to directly impact your customers.

AI can analyse lifestyle information about each customer, allowing you to understand and support them far more deeply. For example, a single parent family with 4 children in a semi-detached house is likely to have very different support needs to a 90-year-old living alone in a flat.

And with the ultimate data calculator on your side - AI - you can identify new trends, risks, and opportunities in minutes not hours, days not weeks.

If a housing association can operate efficiently, address repairs quickly, and provide proactive maintenance, that all flows into happier, more satisfied tenants that feel seen and heard.

Crimson’s Art of the Possible® AI for Housing

The potential for AI enhancement in the housing sector runs deep. But with so much opportunity on the table, a wise and measured approach to technical transformation is required.

Crimson’s Art of the Possible® “AI in Housing” initiative is here to turn your housing association’s tech plans into a reality. In this intensive, engaging 2-day programme, our technical change specialists will explore your individual possible applications of Microsoft’s AI suite.

Following the initial workshop, our experts will provide you with a tailored Art of the Possible® roadmap, detailing your specific opportunities for AI integration and providing a strong strategic basis for change that will help you propel your housing association into the future.

Book a discovery session with our transformation team today!