The Dutch digital housing association Qlinker aims to turn traditional housing associations’ procedures upside down in order to serve their tenants in the most customer friendly way possible. In order to achieve this, the Qlinker team started from scratch: no existing organization, no existing IT infrastructure and no legacy systems but instead the tenant as their starting point.
A guest blog post by Danielle Koeken & Daan Peters of the 'Qlinker' team
Qlinker (‘klinker’ is the Dutch word for ‘brick’) was established back in 2017 by its parent company Mitros; a large (28.000 units) Dutch housing association in Utrecht, in the heart of the country. Initial challenge was answering the question ‘What would a housing association look like, when set up by Google?’
In order to make the ‘what you see is what you get’ principle more customer-friendly, Qlinker uses a so-called Customer Passport, effectively a tenant ID that contains information on income and family composition. By using this passport, a tenant only gets to see the properties for which they are eligible. All aimed at supporting the Qlinker ambition ‘achieve higher customer satisfaction with lower operating costs.’ Currently the rental process at Qlinker is already using 44% less man hours than with its mother company, Mitros.
The onboarding process is fully digital and has effectively cut down the application time from six days to as little as six hours, sometimes even to a mere ten minutes! Tenants use the Qlinkker app for all their interaction from finding a (new or other) home, signing their contract, paying their rent and asking for maintenance or repairs.
Learning, sharing (and stealing..) is the mantra of Qlinker. Its ambition is not to develop new technologies, but to utilize new and promising innovations from startups or other HA’s in order to make the customer journey as simple, smooth and fast as possible. Present IT systems tend to be unnecessary complex: Qlinker doesn’t want to become ‘frustrated’ by this systems world.
Qlinker is not yet the “100% digital housing association” from its ambition, but is interested in sharing their lessons learnt and will gladly ‘steal’ innovations from their peers, both in The Netherlands as well as internationally. Qlinker is a live ‘Innovation Lab’ that allows new ideas and concepts to be tested in real life.
Qlinker is not looking for partners, peers or investors who want to wait for the new world to come and then embrace and accept it with caution. We are looking for those who want to create that new world together with us. Does that appeal to you? Then feel free to contact them!