“What is a smartphone anyway?” I was asked by a colleague this week. I broke into a cold sweat. Especially as it was during a meeting about digital inclusion.
If this is the kind of question you hear asked often, you need to start worrying. Now.
I love working in housing. Genuinely. But whilst we debate whether the Right to Buy is a a good thing, what level of Affordable Rent is affordable – we miss out on some things that maybe , just maybe , we should be talking about as well.
Such as. We are in the midst of a revolution in the way customers interact and engage with us – the likes of which we have never seen before in the history of the human race.
Is that enough hyperbole for you?
In his book “The Third Screen – Marketing to Your Customers in a World Gone Mobile” , Chuck Martin introduces the concept of a customer who is untethered – literally let loose – from the restrictions previously placed on them by service providers.
The development of smartphone technology and digital mobility will usher in an era where the customer – not the company – is in control. Access on the go. When the customer wants it. Error Free. No Delay. 24/7
And its already happening.
Are we ready for a distracted customer who values their mobile more than they value television or food? Don’t be dismissive of that by the way – you have probably already glanced at a mobile device in the past hour. Or you are reading from one right now.
Some questions we need to ask ourselves.
- There are more mobile phones in the UK than people. But how much time do we spend talking about mobile solutions compared with people problems?
- Actual quote for you. “The problem with old people – those over 21 – is they still use email”. Are we prepared for doing business with a generation conditioned to 24hour SMS and Social Media communication?
- How does a landlord integrate themselves in a customers social network stream? Do we want to?
- What does a Skype debt management intervention look like? Or ASB interview ? Live at midnight on a Saturday – as it occurs.
- How can Social Learning Communities get a tenant ready to cope with their first home, reduce repairs expenditure or aid greater access to employment and volunteering?
- In a world post Google Wallet – how can Smart phones fulfill other everyday functions? Door-keys? Top up Utility Meters?
- What about Communities led by (tenant) digital champions? The housing version of the TripAdvisor “destination experts”?
Ignore them and they will ignore us.