We are something of a pioneer regarding housing rentals online and for many years the company’s rental activities and range of services has been close to 100 % digital. In 2015, the website received a welcome boost.
AF Bostäder has worked strategically for more than 15 years on the company’s IT services and the website is our most important marketing and communication channel.
“Students are always very advanced in their requirements for technology,” says Monika Frank, Project Manager at AF Bostäder. “That’s why we have an IT strategy that ensures Sweden’s best broadband in our housing and that all our administrative services are accessible online. All housing rentals and contract signing are digital and we are increasing our range of online services the whole time.”
It is well known that AF Bostäder’s customers want to deal with matters online – rapidly and simply. They do not want to phone, they do not want go to an office, they want to surf and do things at times that suit their daily routine. A series of surveys were conducted as part of preparations to develop the new website.
“Thanks to our analysis tools, we know that smartphones and tablets have changed the behaviour of our customers,” says Monika Frank. “Previously, customers surfed at home on their computers. Now they deal with the same matters online as soon as they have time – in the bus queue, in a shop or while they are waiting for a lecture to start. Nowadays, the majority of our regular visitors surf on a mobile unit, and the number is rising. Through the company that built the website, AF Bostäder produced a questionnaire in which tenants answered questions about how they use the website. In-depth interviews have also been carried out with existing and prospective customers. In addition, the customers were given simple tasks to carry out on the old website with an aim to study their reasoning processes when navigating to a desired outcome.”
“Students want fast access to services and the functions they use often, primarily booking laundry room times and reporting faults,” says Monika Frank. “Things should be easy to find and it must be fast – the customers set high requirements for navigation.”
“On the new website we follow the customers’ behaviour and prioritise the content according to their needs. We have also studied how companies in highly service-oriented sectors build their websites, and we have gained a lot of inspiration from this. One example is that the students can chat with our service centre directly on the site. AF Bostäder has chosen not to use apps for its services. Instead, the entire website has been built so that it’s compatible with mobile units. The company wants customers to find everything they need in one and the same place.”
“Now we have launched the website that the students been asking for,” says Monika Frank. “We have also based it on our new graphic profile and communication, so that we adopt the same tone everywhere that the students encounter us. In addition, we have created a platform to engage service staff and students more in the continued development of the website. Now we are striving for continuous improvement.”
“The new website has been presented in a new domain using our full company name, afbostader.se,” says Monika Frank. “In parallel, we have changed all our email addresses to email@example.com. The previous address, afb.se, will continue to point customers in the right direction, but we choose not to communicate that, as sometimes we are confused with organisations that have similar abbreviations. In future, we will communicate using only our full name.”