Orbit, one of the largest providers of social housing in the country, needed a web platform which would make it easier for their diverse audience to access advice and services. Prodo discuss how they helped Orbit achieve this
With the uptake of smartphones, the core audience of housing associations has considerably shifted in terms of internet browsing habits. As a result, many associations have been caught short in terms of allowing customers to perform tasks online.
Government figures estimate costs-per-transaction of around 15 pounds for face-to-face interactions, eight pounds over the phone, and as low as eight pence online. Achieving digital channel shift therefore delivers significant cost savings and value for money, enabling greater social investment in other areas.
Feedback from customers, data from analytics, and Prodo’s eye-tracking experiments revealed that the existing Orbit sites were confusing and frustrating to use. Sign-ups for the ‘My Account’ function, an area of the site where users can log in to conduct activities such as paying rent and reporting repairs, were very low as a proportion of total customers.
The website needed to appeal to Orbit’s diverse resident base of 37,000 homes, 100,000 residents and a range of demographics – from new home owners to low income families. Nine regional/departmental websites needed consolidating into a coherent single platform to provide a simpler and more satisfying user experience.
A thorough evaluation was conducted with residents and staff across all departments. Workshops, interviews, and eye-tracking technology were utilised to analyse how users were interacting with the current site and better understand their underlying motivation and goals.
To log in to the old ‘My Account’ service, users were sent off to a third-party site where the experience was totally different, discouraging many residents from using it. We used iFrames to integrate the ‘My Account’ function into their Housing Management System and made it a much more seamless experience.
We created a mobile-friendly site using Umbraco, which supports Orbit’s over-arching goal of encouraging more customers to access their services online.
Using the results from our eye tracking workshops, we implemented a user-centric design that appealed to the wide demographic. We also implemented an intelligent search function that gives customers suggested answers, and a mega menu which enabled customers to access deeper content quicker, without the need to phone or walk in for support. The introduction of live chat sessions, which integrated with the customer service centre, also reduced the need for in-person and phone support.
Implementation of Prodo’s ‘chatter’ platform into the new site provides Orbit with the ability to easily curate and publish content from social channels within the site, thereby supporting their objective of improving audience engagement.
Moving forward, each page on the new website encourages feedback from users, so it can continue to be tweaked and improved to satisfy customer and staff requirements.
• 15 per cent increase of online sign-ups in the first three months
• Over 2,300 ‘My Account’ sign ups, with 340 in the first 24 hours following launch
• Over 3,000 live chat sessions started by customers with Customer Service Centre via website in the first quarter since launch
• 10 per cent reduction in bounce rate
• Mobile usage increased from 33 per cent of total traffic to 41 per cent
• A very happy client appreciative of working with an agency who understands their audiences:
“Prodo have a fantastic knowledge of the housing sector, its trends and issues”.