Midland Heart shortlisted for CIH awards 2016
Midland Heart has been shortlisted for Excellence in the use of Technology in the 2016 Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) Midlands Awards.
The annual awards celebrate achievements in the midlands region and promote innovation throughout the sector. The Excellence in the use of Technology award will go to the housing provider that best demonstrates their commitment to technology through innovation and the positive impact it has had on the organisation and its customers.
Working closely with customers and rostrvm for Housing, we have developed a bespoke automated outbound phone dialler system for rental collections and reminders. The system contacts customers as soon as a scheduled payment is missed by using voice alerts and text messages. This early intervention means that we can better support our customers to address the reason for the arrears and also signpost them to further support if required.
The new approach has increased customer contact, improved rent collection rates and reduced arrears by engaging with customers early when support was needed.
Gary Hardy, Director of Housing Operations at Midland Heart said: “Since the project launch we have been able to reduce the length of time the team are spending chasing customers with phone calls and letters, and have seen a 300% increase in customer contact while also achieving a £348k increase in rent payments over a period of 6 months.
“As a bi-product of using the system our direct debit uptake has increased to 25% having been fixed at 14.5% for over seven years and turnaround times for voids have reduced by 25% with average void times down to 19 days – these are all significant improvements; the effectiveness of the system really speaks for itself.”
Midland Heart are one of the first housing organisations to seek a solution of this kind following the outcome of research into Universal Credit by the National Housing Federation that said Housing Association income teams would need to increase customer contact by 300-400% to avoid high levels of rent arrears following the introduction of Universal Credit.
For more information about the project please read our case study.