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  • Channel Shift Survey Results Report We ran an anonymous survey about attitudes to

    channel shift in the social housing sector; here’s

    what we found | 01244 335 361 The Stables, Little Heath Road, Littleton, Chester, CH3 7DW

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    We ran an anonymous survey about attitudes to Channel Shift in the housing sector. The survey was aimed at housing sector employees.

    A total of 205 responses were received from respondents representing over 87 UK housing organisations.

    Respondents came from all levels in those organisations - from CEO, Director and Head of Service level positions through to Managers and frontline Officers.

    Most Housing business functions were represented within the responses too: individuals from Comms & Marketing, Customer Service, Finance, Housing, IT, Operations, Sales and Transformation specific roles all responded.

    In terms of experience, or time served within the sector there was a broad mix. Our respondents were both new to the sector (26.35% had served from 0-5 years ), highly experienced (12.68% had over 25 years experience) plus everything in between.

    “ We surveyed 205 Housing professionals across 87 UK housing associations 17% were Csuite or director level 11% were heads of service 34% were managers and 38% were at officer level

    Channel Shift Survey Report


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    Channel Shift Survey Report

    We asked three questions to establish a quick picture of respondents opinions on channel shift as a concept and its place within their organisation and individual roles.

    1. What does ‘Channel Shift’ mean to you?

    2. Are you aware of any Channel Shift objectives your organisation has?

    3. How involved are you in helping your organisation hit Channel Shift objectives?

    88% of respondents said that channel shift meant “Making digital a “channel of choice” and freeing up staff time by automating repeatable processes.” Most respondents then, rejected the notion that channel shift is about replacing people, degrading customer service or simply moving contact to channels like email or online forms and away from phones and face to face.

    Encouragingly, 89% of those surveyed were aware that their organisation had some kind of channel shift objective, with 80% knowing what those objectives were. Understandably, those in C Suite and Director level positions had the best knowledge of channel shift objectives for

    Views on Channel Shift

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    their organisation (96%) however 73% of those in Officer positions also knew what the organisation was trying to achieve.

    Despite this, only 21% of respondents actually felt they were actively involved in helping their organisation hit their channel shift goals and 58% feeling little to no involvement in hitting channel shift objectives (58% of those were either Officer or Manager level employees).

    Section 1 | Views on Channel Shift

    “89% Aware that their organisation has a channel shift objective

    80% Know what their organisations channel shift objectives are

    21% Feel actively involved in hitting channel shift objectives

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    Channel Shift Survey Report

    Compared against the 89% of employees who had knowledge of the channel shift goals of their organisation, the high number of individuals who felt they weren’t involved in helping to achieve them (especially in ostensibly frontline Manager and Officer positions) is indicative of a lack of understanding of what the channel shift objectives actually mean.

    This could highlight that a culture of channel shift is not well embedded within the organisations we surveyed which could be due to a lack of communication filtering down from higher up the chain.

    That said, when looked at in conjunction with other questions we asked, could this highlight something deeper? To start with,

    46% of respondents said they had little to no confidence in their organisations ability to procure and implement the right channel shift solutions on budget and on time because of negative past experiences, lack of buy in or lack of strategic direction.

    To add to that, internal blockers (34%), working with third party suppliers (22%) and poor communication (13%) were cited as amongst the biggest frustrations during project delivery. IT system limitations (41%) and disagreements across departments or conflicts with other projects (18%) were cited among the top blockers preventing projects progressing from planning to delivery.

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    With all this in mind – could the lack of perceived involvement in hitting channel shift objectives relate more to apathy or project fatigue across organisations?

    This could highlight a need for more sweeping changes in Mindset and organisational culture and possibly some large IT infrastructure changes across these organisations rather than just better education on Channel Shift alone.

    Section 1 | Views on Channel Shift

    Biggest frustrations during delivery of digital Channel Shift projects


    4% 8%




    Internal blockers

    Working with third-party suppliers

    Getting buy-in from customers

    Poor communication

    I don’t know


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    Channel Shift Survey Report

    promote and grow the user base of their customer facing digital channels. This is indicative of a ‘build it and they will come’ attitude the like of which is rarely seen in the private sector. Commercially focussed organisations know it’s not enough to build a platform and simply hope people will find and adopt it. Just like their commercial counterparts, housing organisations need to build self-service platforms that customers

    Over 55% (55.61%) of respondents said their customers were ready to self serve however 36% said that their organisation didn’t currently have a selft service offering for customers. 27% of respondents said their organisation had a self service offering customers were actively using and 20% had an offering, but their customers weren’t showing any desire to use it.

    Despite just over 46% of respondents having some kind of self service offering, 45.37% of respondents felt their organisation did little to no work to continually monitor and improve their customer facing digital channels and 47.8% felt that their organisation does little to no work to


    Channel Shift Survey Report

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    want to use and keep iterating to continually improve them based on user behaviour. In order to get those users on board in the first place, they need to talk to them!

    Perhaps housing organisations need to take the growth and promotion of their self service platforms more seriously and put more strategic planning and resources behind this activity? Would this help these organisations get better uptake on both existing and new platforms?

    60% of respondents to our survey felt that customers should be involved throughout channel shift projects. 72% of respondents felt that internal staff should be involved throughout channel shift projects. Both these stats ring true with Prodo’s experience: if staff and customers understand and are involved with a project throughout, they become advocates of it which in turn contributes positively to channel shift objectives in the long term.

    Section 2 | Mindset

    “ 60% of those who answered said they’d focus on a customer self

    service project

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    Channel Shift Survey Report

    Only 7% of respondents felt that projects were prioritised because frontline staff wanted or needed them and 30.73% said that customer needs dictated project priority.

    When asked to choose any digital project for their organisation to focus on though, 22% identified an internal project. 48% of the projects highlighted among those related to IT with CRM, improving methods of communicating with tenants, mobile working and greater automation all getting mentions.

    This is echoed by the 41% of respondents who said limitations of IT systems tended to be one of the biggest blockers to projects making it from planning to actual delivery. Perhaps the sentiment behind the internal projects our respondents identified was a desire for fundamental changes to internal systems rather than small, incremental improvements or extensions.

    Interestingly, a very low 8% of respondents felt that budgets were a blocker to projects making it through planning to delivery but 20% felt time or resources was an issue. This is despite over 25% stating that their organisation typically spends over 12 months planning channel shift projects.


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    Section 2 | Planning


    3% 3%





    IT system limitations

    Time and/or resources

    Disagreements across departments and/or conflicts with other projects


    I don’t know

    Combination of these


    Biggest blockers to channel shift projects making it past planning to being delivered

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    Channel Shift Survey Report

    Clearly, this is indicative that budgets are rarely an issue when it comes to getting projects off the ground but it’s interesting that almost 20%

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