Housing association Staedion formulates basic quality from customer’s perspective
Do you make a new tenant happier with a new toilet, a whitewashed ceiling or a smart thermostat? An important question for housing association Staedion, one of the largest housing associations in the Netherlands with more than 40,000 units rented out.
We had a conversation with Dre Boidin on how to bring together customer wishes and corporate interests. Dre is managing director and responsible for the plan development, new construction, renovation and daily maintenance. The property portfolio has a value of €4.5 billion.
Dre on the baseline situation
“Every year, Staedion spends around €200 million on new construction, renovation and maintenance. If we make something, it’s usually for decades. So we had better make sure we make the right choices when developing, renovating and managing our real estate. Flowresulting helped us do that even more from the perspective of our residents: what do they find important? Are there major differences between target groups?
We already had a kind of handbook in which we described for ourselves what we felt a property should meet at least. We call that ‘basic quality’. But we wanted to get a better grip on the choices we make, explicitly including the customer perspective.”
Surely the convention in housing association land is that we are not quick to consider the possibility of charging our residents. But when almost 60% of residents say they want to contribute to additional home improvement themselves, shouldn’t we seriously look into it?
How did you approach it?
“With a team from different departments, from carpenters to estate agents, we took stock in a number of sessions of what we think ‘quality’ is for our residents. We challenged our people to estimate, based on their customer knowledge, what home improvements would make our tenants most happy. It turned out that it was not so easy to form a unified view on that. The conclusion was clear: we should ask our tenants themselves.
We then worked out a research design together with flowresulting. In doing so, we carefully considered how to prevent tenants from coming up with endless wish lists, because if it doesn’t cost anything, everyone will naturally say yes to everything. But that is unaffordable. We focused the survey on where there is still room for choice, so we left out obvious things.
In mid-2020 we conducted the survey, more than 500 residents participated.”
Can you say something about the results?
The survey provided some remarkable insights. What nobody expected: almost 60% of residents are willing to make their own contribution to improving their homes. That gives food for thought. Surely, the convention in housing association land is that we are not quick to consider the possibility of making our residents pay. But when almost 60 per cent of residents say they want to contribute to additional home improvement themselves, shouldn’t we seriously look into it? Not as a revenue model, but because there is apparently a need?
Analysing the target audience
New toilets (250€)
Whiten ceilings (500€)
Spy and gap holder (100€)
Smart thermostat (150€)
59% of all tenants are willing to pay a co-payment for a specific improvement. 29% of people would pay €250 for a new toilet.
Furthermore, we see clear differences in preferences between target groups. An example: younger people find it less of a problem to latex a ceiling or walls themselves. They prefer to have a smart thermostat. With older people it is exactly the other way around. Younger people, on the other hand, value new plumbing more. We can do something with that.
52% of tenant satisfaction is driven by 3 elements:
The next step is to look at how we can take more into account the needs specific to target groups. How do we set that up in the customer journey? What does it mean for our management organisation? And so on.
You may also like
Discover smart tips, personal stories from our clients and our take on the latest marketing trends