Engagement & Insight
FAQ's

How do people react to receiving automated calls- isn't it too impersonal?

After 10 years of making millions of automated calls on behalf of business, schools, the NHS and social landlords we have learnt that most people's reaction is determined by the timeliness and relevance of the call, not the fact that it is automated. If the call is of value to the recipient in some way, the reaction will be positive.

I wouldn't respond to an automated call - does anybody?

It is probable that almost everyone has engaged with an automated call, if it was timely and relevant to their needs. Our response rates are enormous.

You hear about people getting bombarded with calls like PPI. Isn't there some regulation around this?

Yes, automated calling activity is regulated by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO). They are tasked with policing the kind of activities like debt management, PPI claims and solar energy sales that have been well publicised. The common issue with these abuses is that they are typically large volume repeated activity, but more importantly, they are directed towards unconnected sales prospects. In other words they are “cold calling” sales campaigns. We do not provide these kinds of services.

Don't our customers have to “opt-in” before we can call them?

Whilst it is never a bad thing to have permission for all eventualities, it is not usually practical with the current pace of technological change. The idea of “opt-in” for customers is typically associated with the sales and marketing of other first or third party services. For the range of services that we currently offer to social landlords, it is not necessary.

Is it legal - won't it be classed as nuisance calling?

It is completely legal and the rules and processes present in our Managed Services Platform guarantee that any activity we provide would not be classed as nuisance calling by the regulator.

What about the Telephone Preference Service (TPS)?

The TPS is subscribed to by people who do not want to receive unsolicited sales calls. As we only ever make calls to existing customers, this does not apply.

What if the call goes to answer machine or cannot connect?

Our Managed Services Platform is intelligent enough to detect the presence of an answer machine or voicemail service and can tailor the message accordingly. It can also detect a range of possible outcomes ranging from invalid numbers to the recipient being overseas.

What if our telephone number data is missing or inaccurate?

All of our communication modules validate the contact data that is provided to us, for things like correct number length and format. Even if the number is validated as correct, it is sometimes the case that it will still not work or has been changed recently by the customer. All of these possible outcomes are reported back, in order to cleanse existing contact data and optimise future performance.

Do your services cater for customer channel preferences or is it just calls?

Our Managed Services Platform is multi-modal providing telephony, SMS and email functionality.

Can different messages be sent to the same people but at different times?

All of our communication modules are fully configurable and it can often be the case that a customer needs to be contacted for a variety of things. Rules can be set on our Managed Services Platform to regulate contact frequency and also to prioritise message types.

How do you ensure that customers don't get called too often?

All of our communication modules are fully configurable and it can often be the case that a customer needs to be contacted for a variety of things. Rules can be set on our Managed Services Platform to regulate contact frequency and also to prioritise message types.

How do you get to our data and is it secure?

We have a number of standard secure protocols for accessing the necessary contact data for the specific communication modules. All of our servers and services reside in Redcentic's UK only data centres. They provide the most secure co-location environment for business critical data and systems. Biometrics, key card and combination locks are implemented as standard entry-level criteria to our centres, backed up with 24-hour CCTV. www.redcentricplc.com

How do we track our activity - does it integrate with our CRM/HMS?

All of our communication modules have their own management dashboards providing real-time results that are accessible immediately anywhere via a secure online account. A variety of permission based service access accounts can be set up and administered by an appointed master user within your organisation. All of our services are designed with open standard APIs for integration purposes, but they are also designed to operate independently for rapid deployment and minimal IT involvement.

What level of back up and support do you provide?

All of our service provision is subject to a rigorous Service Level Agreement (SLA) and our continuity of service over the last 10 years has been exemplary. Our services are installed with the minimal involvement of your IT team and all ongoing first line support is provided directly by us.

Who decides on the customers that need to be called?

You decide on which customers need to be called and when. The service is entirely configurable and is currently deployed in a variety of ways by different organisations. It is also very common for individual landlords to change and develop their approach over time.

How do you get the data?

We have a number of standard secure protocols for accessing the necessary contact data. The best approach would be agreed with you in advance.

Does it link into our Housing Management System?

All of our services are designed with standard Application Programme Interfaces for open integration purposes. They can also operate independently for rapid deployment and minimal IT involvement.

Does it work with Rentsense from Mobysoft?

Yes we have a number of mutual clients where the two services complement each other.

Do you get many complaints?

No. The service is designed to facilitate a conversation and this is typically achieved in a fairly short period. The tone and frequency of the service is key to this. Of course if the services is used to call the wrong people then complaints can be expected, but this type of data error is usually highlighted very rapidly.

What number (Caller ID) is presented to the customer when the calls are made?

Our policy is to present a local geographical number, so in Manchester for example the CLI would start with 0161. This has proven to be the most effective approach.

Can transferred calls be split between customer services & the income team?

The service is completely configurable, so based on whatever rules are set, different types or amounts of arrears calls can be directed a selection of people or departments at times and days to suit.

Does our rent collection process need to be centralised?

The service is currently used in large organisations where everything from repairs to rent, goes through a dedicated Customer Services Centre. It is also working effectively in smaller organisations with a relatively small team of specialist rent officers.

What kind of results can we realistically expect when using this service?

We have a number of case studies that testify to some fantastic results, but as a minimum the service will provide a) regular number data cleansing of about 10 to 15% of your total records, b) the ability to attempt to make contact with everyone in arrears at least once week, c) a massive reduction in the number of arrears letters being sent out and d) a significant release of employee time and resource from making outbound calls. On top of that you should see more cash collected and an uptick in every KPI.

Do those results drop off over time as people get used to the service?

No. All of our evidence to date actually points to an improvement in results over time. People do get used to the service, but in a way that aligns their payment behaviour with their need for housing.

Has anybody used it for Former Tenant Arrears (FTA) and has it worked?

Yes there are a growing number of organisations who use the service to chase their FTA caseload. - The service very quickly cleanses the contact number data and the outcome is always very positive. Riverside have done a case study specifically on this topic.

Does it comply with pre-action protocols at the courts?

The complete audit trail that the service provides in terms of all contact attempts over a given period, successful or not, are now being used for this very purpose by a number of landlords across the country.

How do you get the data?

We have a number of standard secure protocols for accessing the necessary contact data. The best approach would be agreed with you in advance.

How close to the scheduled appointment can we call to confirm it?

In practice, the timing will ultimately depend on how quickly you can reschedule your own operatives. Confirmation calls could be scheduled for 24 hours before the appointment, but that might not leave enough time to reallocate the necessary resources. So allowing for that, it is always more effective to be as close to the appointment as possible.

What kind of things can this be used for?

As this service is effectively a campaign tool, the range of possible applications is very broad. Examples to date include regional flood warning alerts, internet usage surveys, planned maintenance preferences and smoke alarm installation follow ups.

How can we be sure that our customers have received the message?

All of our communication modules have their own management dashboards providing real-time results that are accessible immediately anywhere via a secure online account. Our Managed Services Platform is intelligent enough to detect the presence of an answer machine or voicemail service and can tailor the message accordingly. It can also detect a range of possible outcomes ranging from invalid numbers to the recipient being overseas.

How quickly can we get messages out there?

This service can be used to schedule communications in advance where time permits, but it can also be used to deliver messages to a wide audience extremely rapidly, as in the case of flood warning alerts.

How do you get the data?

We have a number of standard secure protocols for accessing the necessary contact data. The best approach would be agreed with you in advance.

How many times do you try each customer?

Usually when a campaign is configured a decision is made by the landlord on the number of call attempts, frequency and campaign duration.

Who decides on the customers that need to be called?

You decide on which customers need to be called and when. The service is entirely configurable and is currently deployed in a variety of ways by different organisations. It is also very common for individual landlords to change and develop their approach over time.

How do you get the data?

We have a number of standard secure protocols for accessing the necessary contact data. The best approach would be agreed with you in advance.

What kind of response rates can we expect?

Typical response rates are as high as 33% for landlords using external contractors and up to 50% for those with a DLO. This variance is due mainly to the accuracy of both the contact data and the completion dates. - The closer to the actual repair the higher the response rates.

Can we drill down to analyse specific problems?

The management dashboard has 100% audit trail so activities can be analysed - for example by individual customer, property, repair contractor or operative. Adactus Housing currently use customer satisfaction scores at operative level as a component of their individual bonus calculation.

What impact will it have on our satisfaction scores?

Usually landlords witness an initial drop in their reported satisfaction scores using this service, because other methods do not monitor every repair every day. Over time the score usually rises above the previous reported level, but becomes far more credible, based on the volume and real-time nature of the responses.

How does this compare to using PDAs to gather feedback?

The main disadvantage to using a PDA to measure satisfaction is that the operative is present, thus skewing the results. Also the customer has often not had any time to really consider the work. The outcome is that PDAs will report higher satisfaction levels but as a consequence will not drive operational improvement. The benefit of our service is that customers are inclined to be more forthright and there is no bias.

Doesn't calling everyone just encourage complaints?

It does give people with an issue the chance to air their view, but in fact the service has proven to drive down formal complaints everywhere it has been deployed to monitor repairs and maintenance performance. By calling so close to the repair and resolving any issues quickly, it only serves to drive up overall satisfaction, whilst also highlighting any operational issues that can resolved sooner.

Who decides on the customers that need to be called?

You decide on which customers need to be called and when. The service is entirely configurable and is currently deployed in a variety of ways by different organisations. It is also very common for individual landlords to change and develop their approach over time.

How do you get the data?

We have a number of standard secure protocols for accessing the necessary contact data. The best approach would be agreed with you in advance.

What issues does the service typically uncover?

The primary issue the service monitors is first call resolution, or more often how many times a customer has had to call in to resolve the same issue. Other issues that are often uncovered are gaps in advisor training that can subsequently be remedied.

Can the results be manipulated in any way?

A variety of permission based service access accounts can be set up and administered by an appointed master user within your organisation. Those permissions and the 100% audit trail of all changes serves to ensure the outcome is accurate.

Does the number of people to be called have to be a particular size?

No. The data set of customers to contact can be tiny and also very intermittent if that is the nature of the process. Monitoring the processing of ASB complaints for example, would hopefully be small numbers and fairly irregular. These are exactly the kinds of processes that are difficult to monitor consistently over time. By automating the process with our service you can guarantee it will not be missed.

How do you get the data?

We have a number of standard secure protocols for accessing the necessary contact data. The best approach would be agreed with you in advance.

Can you ask them more than one question?

Our recommendation is always to ask the least number possible, however the service is entirely configurable and is currently deployed in a variety of ways by different organisations. It is also very common for individual landlords to change and develop their approach over time.

Is the service able to automatically escalate any issues?

Any outcome or result from all of our communication modules can trigger some kind of alert to a designated party or parties to escalate a given issue. When monitoring the wellbeing of customers in sheltered accommodation for example, it may be desirable to alert a scheme supervisor if a scheduled regular wellbeing call has gone unanswered.