Working with and supporting our residents to get the most out of their Switchee system on a daily basis never ceases to be a learning experience for our support team. Their preferences, their questions, their reaction to changes in software on their Switchee and their levels of engagement with the product are always changing and evolving. As one of Switchee’s front-line support staff, I wish to provide a glimpse into our relationship with our residents and what Switchee can mean to them as users.
The Silent Switchee
Many of us will share the view that the best products in our lives are the ones that are reliable but not attention-seeking. They go about their business and they do what they are told when we need them to. Think of your Amazon Alexa, your Android or Apple smartphone, your Nespresso Coffee Machine that resurrects you each morning. For many of our residents, it is their Switchee on their wall. Some of our residents will take up the option of giving us a call upon the installation of their Switchee. Once we talk them through setting up a schedule of heating or hot water on their Switchee (or do this for them remotely) they can rest assured knowing that they can adjust it as they go and Switchee will maintain their preferred temperature. “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” indeed Leonardo da Vinci.
The Supporting Act Switchee
Other residents jump on the opportunity to engage with the new device in their home and wish to learn everything there is to know about Switchee. Most want to find out how it can help them to spend less on their energy bills. Some residents learn that they do not need to have their heating on for as long as they initially thought to adequately heat up their home. If the Switchee is controlling their hot water, there will also be residents who transition from initially wanting their hot water to be on 24/7 to understanding that they actually only need it on for a couple of hours in the morning and a couple in the evening to have their water hot when they need it to be. Our team collaborate with our residents and spend as long as they need on the phone to figure out what schedules work for them until they are happy with how things are working in their home. Switchee’s clear visual UI is different from what many of our residents are used to with more traditional thermostats and we’ve been thrilled to find residents feel Switchee is easy to engage with once they are talked through using it. It is the catalyst to many of our residents feeling that they have more control over their heating system, and this derives from them learning a great deal about their home and its efficiency in the process.
The Safe Switchee
As we also work to support vulnerable and elderly residents, the Switchee system has been designed to accommodate both those who wish to interact with it frequently and those who also wish to have it set up for them. In addition, the Switchee has safeguards implemented to protect users from being at risk of any dangerous living conditions. For example, if the Switchee has been left ‘OFF’ by the user for a very long time and temperatures drop in the household, the Switchee offers frost protection to ensure that if temperatures drop below 5 degrees, the heating will come on to protect the user and the household. At the other end of the scale, there is also the risk of overheating a home. If a property is showing dangerously high temperatures, alerts are sent to the resident’s housing provider so they can give informed assistance to the resident if they need help. This, alongside the plethora of other readings Switchee measures, ensures that our clients can step in and help those who need it most.
As we would expect, our diverse family of users engage with Switchee in very different ways. Our job at Switchee is to provide a support framework that provides the right balance of being there to provide support whenever it is needed, but also empowering our users to become confident with using Switchee. In turn, this enables many to self-serve when it comes to tailoring how Switchee operates to optimise their energy usage in their home. Simultaneously, the housing providers we serve are using Switchee to improve the quality of their rented homes as a whole. We’re proud to be helping residents better heat their homes and landlords to provide a better quality of life.