Stonewater soft launches sales and lettings online Property Shop
Stonewater is a leading national social housing provider. The social housing organisation provides 33,600 homes for more than 75,000 customers. Stonewater’s core values are; being ambitious, passionate, agile, commercial and ethical, and this is reflected in the work they do.
Stonewater chose Active Housing to help them undergo a digital transformation of their services, this included a new customer portal, repairs reporting and a consolidated property website, My Property Shop.
After the launch of the successful Stonewater MyHome portal and repairs reporting, phase 2 of the project was to launch a Stonewater sales and lettings site. My Property Shop is a shopfront for Stonewater to showcase properties to buy and to let, and gives prospective customers the ability to apply for a property online. The project’s intention was one centralised place for Stonewater’s to-let and for-sale properties.
As well as a virtual shopfront, My Property Shop allows customers to start the journey to applying for a property. This is the first step to full digital applications and will be delivered using Active Housing’s Active Onboarding product, with some degree of customisation.
Onboarding starts when a prospective customer registers their interest for a property on the shopfront. When this happens, the Stonewater admins are notified and in the future, the application they send out will be one of six digital applications that are being created, dependent on the tenure type.
Active Housing hosted and facilitated several scoping workshops with key stakeholders at Stonewater, including the Sales and Lettings teams, before defining the project plan. This ensured that everyone involved was clear on the software requirements, and provided a strong foundation for development.
The project was managed in an Agile style of project management. Bi-weekly meetings were held via Microsoft Teams, as well as frequent communication via email. The teams used project management tools Asana and Jira to log track issues which ensured that any problems were resolved before My Property Shop was soft launched in November 2020.
Integration with MIS ActiveH (MIS’s housing management system) was required, and was completed using the bespoke MIS APIs.
One of the biggest challenges to the project was the testing process, which was complex due to the many different tenure types. This was dealt with by the teams having regular calls to discuss their findings from the testing and ensure that nothing was missed from the testing process. Both the new site and the digital applications are now undergoing customer testing ahead of a full future release.
Although the project is still awaiting a full rollout, both organisations are pleased with the results so far. Launching a digital property shopfront and moving to digital application forms is extremely forward thinking in the UK Social Housing sector and Stonewater is one of the few organisations that is developing this. This is a testament to the organisation’s core values. The two organisations continue to work together to bring new features to Stonewater’s digital service for customers.