This was a headline in the New York Times this April and the article was about Jessica Pels, the editor of Cosmopolitan. Jessica is trying to save the magazine from the jaws of Instagram and data has become the strategic lifeblood of the magazine. Intelligence gained from copy that is read online allows her to understand who is reading Cosmopolitan, what they are reading and how long they read it for. Future editions of the magazine are then designed around this and as a result, circulation is now once again increasing.
I categorically agree that good data is sexy. If I look back at my career as a Director, good data so often shaped my quality of life and success. There are few things worse in business then to sit around a Boardroom Table waiting for your peers to pull your report apart because it proves to be factually incorrect or for you to know in your gut that a poor decision is about to be made but you don’t have the information available to prove it.
You then have the social angle. Organisations work best when the whole team have a shared purpose and I believe that those involved in the provision of social housing have enormous purpose. How many organisations can say that they are responsible for creating and maintaining exceptional communities and safeguarding the properties that so many of our young people grow up in? Schools can also claim to have incredible purpose as they develop our next generation. Data is information and a school’s purpose is to provide students with data and teach them what to do with it. The best schools are those that succeed and help develop great adults, using data to enhance their lives by both helping them to make the right choices and equipping them to achieve their objectives.
So why is data so important to the social housing provider? There’s the obvious answer, which is to use it to run the business more effectively, spotting areas for improvement and supporting great and qualified management decisions along with good governance. There is however also a deeper more meaningful answer… using data to make your customers happy.
Stick with me here. Exactly how does this work?
Happiness is a nice feeling and it is generally achieved when you attain your objectives in life. These can be long term objectives, such as having a good home, but importantly it is also those objectives that you set yourself every single day. If at the end of the day you have achieved what you set out to do, you will probably be happy. If you don’t, you will find yourself frustrated and despondent. It therefore stands to reason that to make your customers happier and to have a positive impact on their lives, you need to both make their dealings with you as effortless as possible and also have the time and resources to recognise those that need support. You need to stop customers from becoming frustrated and be ready to offer support proactively when they do, spotting issues as they arise and helping to swiftly address them.
Over the next few weeks I am going to provide greater insight as to how this can be achieved and how data should sit at the very heart of your business strategy. Why? Because if you get it right:
If you ever wondered why you do your job… This is it!
3C provides specialist assistance to support social housing providers to make the most of their data. If you need help with data challenges, please call us on 0333 900 3003 or email firstname.lastname@example.org