<img src="https://secure.enterprise-consortiumoperation.com/792603.png" style="display:none;">
Book a demo
    < Back to blog

    Collections Day Round Up: Sharing Best-practices and Success stories

    On 5th June 2024 we welcomed like-minded social housing professionals from across the UK to Voicescape HQ for a live networking and insights event – centred around our income solution, Voicescape Collections. 

    Attendees came together to discuss both individual and collective income challenges being faced across the sector. Experiences were shared, learning opportunities were explored, and potential solutions were unpacked, discussing innovative new ways of working in challenging times – including how Voicescape Collections is helping to radically redefine engagement strategies to collect with care and efficiency. 

    Read on for a roundup of the session, including key takeaways, actionable insights and eye-opening use cases. But first, a quick reminder…

    What is Voicescape Collections?

    Through automation, Voicescape Collections replaces the inefficient part of the collection process for income teams, such as manual outbound engagement. Instead, it drives inbound engagement from tenants, controlled to a manageable level.

    Since income officers no longer have to spend valuable time on low-level manual outbound engagement, they’ll finally have the capacity to focus their efforts on quality, solutions-focused interactions. By having more meaningful conversations with customers who have opted to speak about their arrears, you’ll drive positive outcomes for both tenants and your social housing organisation.

    Exploring income challenges together

    While everyone touched base over breakfast and coffee, initial thoughts were shared about the prospect of bringing in automated technology to income teams. A common theme felt here was the lack of existing processes in place to help recover FTA debt, with many income managers around the room expressing their desire to harness automation and technology.

    Before speakers took to the stage, our host, Peter Hudson, conducted an interactive mobile survey to ask our attendees what income challenges they were hoping to overcome – setting the scene for our discussion. Their top responses included:

    • Increasing engagement
    • FTA collection/cash collection
    • Low level automation
    • Campaigns
    • Early inventions

    Introducing our guest speakers

    It was a pleasure to be joined by current Voicescape Collections customers: 

    • Darren Thomas, Income Manager at North Wales Housing Association (NWHA), who broke down the challenges that led NWHA to bring on Voicescape, their implementation strategy and their initial results since going live.

    • Paula Jenner, Head of Income at Citizen Housing, who showcased how Voicescape became a part of Citizen’s income team restructuring journey, highlighting the continued year-on-year success they have experienced with Voicescape Collections.

    Here’s a round-up of their insightful presentations…

    Collections in action at NWHA

    NWHA operates over all six North Wales counties with over 2,700 homes. Darren told of the post-Covid restructuring of their Rents team with an aim to better meet the needs of residents, achieve more efficient income collection, and tackle rising rent arrears. New staff were brought in to help the income team launch a ‘support first’ approach. Money advice and support outlets were embedded across income collection activities – with the additional aim of realising efficiencies to increase time spent on value-added tasks. 

    While this approach showed positive signs, their arrears were still fluctuating – and then came the cost of living crisis. Income and money advice officers were overwhelmed with complex and intense calls, further worsened by the 6.5% rent increase. As part of a suite of  mitigating measures, NWHA identified Voicescape Collections software – before going live with it in October 2023. 

    Darren explained the importance of officer buy-in during the implementation phase, consciously introducing it to his team as a labour-saving solution . After deciding on three separate cohorts of low-level arrears, bounced direct debits and failed arrangements to target, they turned Voicescape ‘on’ – applying a duty roster approach to manning the new influx of inbound calls.

    Early success

    Resident engagement significantly improved for Darren’s team, with officers aligning to the new reality of inbound over outbound. And after six months of being live, NWHA has recorded a ratio of 14 automated calls for every meaningful conversation – leaving the outbound ‘positive persistence’ to Collections, and maximising the value of their team for that all-important 1-in-14 conversation. 

    Here’s a roundup of their conversation activity for current tenants in 23/24:

    • 8,779 attempted automated calls, generating 604 conversations with 386 different tenants
    • On average 60% of all tenants who received a successful call opted to transfer and have at least one direct conversation throughout the year
    • On average 72% of all tenants who listened to the recorded message went on to have at least one direct conversation throughout the year

    NWHA’s arrears performance is now in a significantly better place than it was last year – and as a result – they have taken ‘rent’ off the corporate risk register after just 6 months of going live with Voicescape, demonstrating the instantaneous organisational impact of the Collections solution. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. 

    Collections in action at Citizen Housing

    Citizen is based in the West Midlands with over 30,000 mixed tenure housing stock. Following a merger, they identified that their income collection process lacked a firm approach and ownership around early stage arrears and low-level arrears cases, negatively impacting both revenue and staff esteem. In her presentation, Paula broke down a number of Citizen’s foundational ingredients and cornerstones for improvement – from streamlining staff ‘buy in’ and identifying quick win areas, to implementing better systems and technology. 

    Citizen lacked IT resource commitment to focus on lengthy projects, making the business case for Voicescape even more compelling. After onboarding the Collections solution, Citizen Housing identified work types where it could have the greatest impact, as well as any quick wins, including stage one and two arrears cases, garage arrears cases, former tenant arrears, and rejected or cancelled direct debit payments to allow for early intervention. 

    Consistent improvements across the board

    Following an evolution of their approach, Citizen also used the software to support proactive campaigns, including rejected and suspended housing benefit payments, new Universal Credit claims, notice seeking possession and court application stages. 

    Here’s an overview of their performance since onboarding Voicescape Collections:

    • Year-end arrears of 2.26% £3,278,103
    • 44 evictions compared to 148 in 2019-2020
    • Financial gain via the advice service of £4,030,286 compared to £2,100,171 the previous year
    • £3,064,006 in social value using the HACT model compared to £562,381 the previous year

    Increased tenant engagement has made a big difference to how Paula’s team approaches income collection, enabling them to make better decisions as a team and be more proactive when it comes to improving revenue and supporting tenants. Their future plans include using Voicescape for advice calls, as well as for leasehold and shared ownership arrears.

    The power of Voicescape

    Between Darren and Paula’s insightful presentations, Voicescape Sales Director Peter Hudson provided a refresher on how the Collections solution works – including the possibility for pay-by-link integration with the likes of allpay, and some mini-case studies packaging up the potential of Collections in practice…

    Karbon Homes – FY24 results

    Key result

    • 40% increase in payment arrangements
    • Collected an extra £190k with Voicescape versus other types of engagement.

    CTA results

    • 3.7% (FY23) > 3.4% (FY24)
    • 18% increased in same day payments

    UC Journal campaign

    • 75% of tenants updated their journal within 3 days vs 19 days last year 
    • RESULT: 7,500 people got paid full UC on the correct day 

    Winter wellbeing campaign over Christmas

    • Collected an extra £250K compared to Christmas-time last year
    • In 22/23 arrears spiked over Christmas by £270K. This year they only rose by £20 
    • Supported with advice, offered to change DD dates and supported with food parcels

    Luton success story

    Key result

    • 573% increase in FTA TA collections

    FTA challenge

    • Total debt in this area was £10m, rising £1m each year
    • Minimal responsibility from tenants around their former debt

    FTA results

    • £303k improved debt position over 4 months
    • One FTE Collected £10,318.38 in the last full month of reporting

    "Voicescape Collections transformed our FTA debt recovery for temporary accommodation at Luton Borough Council. Faced with a trend of £1 million annual increase and no clear way to stop this, the automated system led to an immediate and substantial impact, limiting the rise to just £30,000 over four months. It is a vital tool for us to tap into this hard-to-reach debt.

    • David Allen, Housing Manager at Luton Borough Council

    whg success story

    Key result

    • £764,215 collected via the pay-by-link since launch

    The challenge

    • whg aimed to empower customers, allowing them to take ownership of their payments, reduce call volumes, and create a smoother payment journey
    • allpay delivered a Pay by Link (PbL) solution, seamlessly integrated into Voicescape's automated engagement platform

    "For whg, the foundation of a great self-service experience is simplicity, and we wish to make it as straightforward as possible for our customers so they can enjoy a seamless and convenient payment experience. Our collaboration with the teams at allpay and Voicescape has allowed us to achieve that, with the added benefits of reducing costs to the organisation and increasing revenue.” 

    • Jasvinder Kaur, Income and Financial Inclusion Manager at whg

    Actionable implementation tips

    With so many insightful conversations happening throughout the day, we’ve rounded up a few lasting thoughts and suggestions from our attendees around how to get the most out of Voicescape Collections:

    1. Staff buy-in is essential for successful implementation.
    2. Voicescape automates repetitive outbound engagement, so your income team only needs to step in and add value for meaningful conversations.
    3. Increase engagement to create ‘off-the-ball’ opportunities i.e. facilitating contact around money advice and hardship support.
    4. Introduce customers to the automated process at pre-tenancy state to get their buy-in early and see the value.
    5. Educate and engage your contact centres with Voicescape in order to spread workloads where appropriate.
    6. Position the automated contact to your customers as a means of providing more consistent support, rather than chasing rent. 
    7. Start using Voicescape for quick-wins and work areas that can have the largest impact first, and then build out. 

    Redefine tenant engagement to collect with care and efficiency

    We appreciate all of our attendees taking the time to fill out feedback forms, we can utilise these responses for all future events and product insights.

    When we think back to the key income challenges expressed by the room at the beginning of the event, we can make a clear case for Voicescape’s ability to meet key needs and revolutionise income collection. 

    Whether it’s collecting FTA’s, running campaigns, making early interventions or much more – we’re happy to discuss how our solution can be applied to your unique requirements. Book a demo with one of our experts today to see how we can help.

    Want to learn more about

    Contact us today for details