Automated approaches transforming Income
Midland Heart have teamed up with rostrvm for Housing to come up with a proactive solution to address the impact of Universal Credit, improve rent collection rates and reduce arrears by engaging with customers as early as possible when issues arise.
By working together the two organisations have developed a bespoke dialler that increases contact with customers at the point their agreed arrangement becomes overdue through the medium of voice alerts and text messages.
“The Ofcom certified system makes it very clear Midland Heart is trying to get in touch and simply asks them to stay on the line to speak to an officer, where our staff have a streamlined system that is ready to discuss their account as soon as they call. Alternatively, if they are unable to talk we provide a specific number the customer can use to call us back when it is more convenient for them to talk” said Gary Hardy, Head of Income, Allocations, Property Sales and Tenancy Standards at Midland Heart
The Income team introduced the dialler in November last year following a period of declining cash payments.
Gary continues: “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 seen a 300% increase in customer contact while also achieving a £348k increase in cash 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 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 were 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.
Through the use of an automated outbound dialling system, a text messaging system and automated outbound voice we have been able to tackle the impact of Universal Credit and act early to mitigate the effects on customers.