How Housing Providers Can Use AR Video to Do Inspections and Better Resolve Tenant Repairs Remotely

With safety concerns around spreading the virus, Covid 19 has left property management, social housing and maintenance companies and organisations with the sudden challenge of having to resolve inspections and tenant repair problems with as little contact with residents as possible.

And, while many of these organisations have already invested in software packages that help with streamlining and making more efficient the process of client reporting of issues, management of vendors, and have sophisticated scripts in place for their contact centre agents to help resolve problems and reduce the need for visits - they still find themselves with the unenviable headache of needing to both send repair professionals to a property, but, at the same time, fulfill their obligations to keep their tenants and workers safe.  

Reducing Resident Visits with AR Video

While, not all visits to a property can be avoided – for example, if the problem needs the skills of a trained electrician or plumber – AR video can help resolve many tenant problems remotely and reduce the need for home visits. Known as remote visual assistance or remote inspection or support software, AR video functionality works by enabling your call centre agents or repair professionals to see through the smartphone camera of your tenants, control it by zooming in and out, and then using augmented reality to annotate on the screen of the camera, highlighting items to press or things to do. For example, in the event of a power cut, the agent can guide the tenant to find the fuse box and then mark on their smartphone screen which switch to flick, on and off, to do a reset.

Your agents can initiate this video link by sending a link to click on which should open in the browser of the smartphone without the need to download an app.

Key Benefits and Usage Scenarios

This solution’s ability to engage with your tenants and the problem visually remotely, helps reduce the need for home visits in a multitude of ways:

Tenant DIY Assistance – Housing associations have tried for many years to reduce the need for call outs over minor DIY issues, many making videos to try and encourage tenants to fix the problem themselves. In this case, solving the problem is made even easier as the agent can walk them through the solution visually, with your tenant able to ask questions and get further instructions.  

Remote Inspection – Property companies and organisations are legally mandated to have gas, electricity and appliance checks. These routine checks could be carried out by the inspector through the software.  

Surveyor Approvals – Surveyors can make use of the smartphone camera to carry out evaluations and give approval for items like patios or extensions.

Accurate Assessment – Being able to see the problem can help the agent to better assess if a visit is necessary; and, if it is, make sure all the information is at hand to resolve it quicker, limiting the tenant’s exposure to the repairer.

Enables Team Collaboration – If a problem proves to have unforeseen difficulties, the engineer on site can contact an experienced colleague, allow him to look at the problem, and get instruction. In doing so, ensure a 2nd trip isn’t necessary or the colleague to physically come to the home.

Additional Benefits for Organisations

Reduce Costs and Increase Productivity – With properties geographically widespread, service professionals and surveyors spend a large part of their time travelling between locations. Reducing the need to visit tenants, frees those professionals to resolve many more cases per hour and reduces travel and contractor costs.

Limit Damage – Visiting a site takes time. If a tenant calls in the middle of the night with a burst pipe, the agent can show the tenant how to switch off the water at the mains. Any additional damage to the property is prevented and it may be possible to book a contractor to solve the problem the following afternoon rather than paying emergency fees. 

Improved Customer Service – Visits by engineers or inspectors take time and require tenants to be home at certain times, leading to frustration around both the item that isn’t working and the need to take time off work. Remote resolution is much quicker, more convenient, and less intrusive for the tenant.    

Improved Customer Insight – Visual interaction recording and analytics give you additional insight into agent and customer engagement, enabling you to fine-tune scripts and processes.

Hostcomm’s Remote Visual Assistance Solution

Hostcomm’s solution works entirely in your browser with no app download necessary, removing much of the friction compared with others. It easily integrates out-of-the box with many key CRMs and has an open API, enabling you to sync data with all your key business applications. 

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