Pictures Helping Tenants Request Repairs

Pretty interesting business Source: Reported by]

Managers of buildings and housing communities know that collecting
and coordinating repair requests on their properties can be a
complicated and time-consuming task, particularly when tenants are
multicultural and language barriers exist. Housecall simplifies and automates much of the process with a web-based service that relies primarily on pictures.

Created by UK-based M3 Housing, Housecall presents tenants with a
step-by-step online guide to reporting a problem. They begin by
specifying what broad category their problem falls into—plumbing,
heat/electric, or roofs/drains, for example—aided by a pictorial
representation of each. The graphics-based process continues from there
by helping residents zero in on the precise nature of the problem, with
pop-up diagnostic prompts when they mouse over relevant images, such as
a heater or sink. Finally, before finishing the process with an
e-mailed report to the community manager, users have the option of
typing in comments.

In addition to basing the system on pictures, M3 recently rolled out
support for instructions in six additional languages—Gujarati, Punjabi,
French, Welsh, Urdu and Arabic—as an added measure of insurance that
the reporting process will be accurate. There is also a text-only
version for accessibility to visually impaired users and those using
mobile browsers.

Housecall is an entirely web-based service that runs on M3’s server,
so it does not require that users or housing managers install software.
The system can be configured to match the design of a client’s own
website, and pricing begins at GBP 700 per year for a community with up
to 250 units of housing in management, plus an initial setup fee of GBP
850 in the first year. We’ve covered
several examples of online repair-tagging systems in use by
governments, and bringing the technology to the private sector seems
like an inevitable next step, since it saves managers time and money by
being able to send the appropriate staff and parts to a tenant’s home
on a first call. Housecall only operates in the UK. One to partner with
and roll out in other countries?


Spotted by: Junaid Kazi


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