Your customers deserve more from their rent statements than simply a reminder of how much they owe!
There’s every chance that if you are like the majority of other Housing Associations within the UK, the printing and mailing of your rent statements is like trying to swim wearing a straight jacket.
There are so many restrictions to what you can do, that it’s hard to keep your head above water as you continue to struggle to meet
In an ideal world there would be so much more you could do with your statements to make them a really useful piece of communication with tenants, and not just be about accurately communicating balances.
Whilst you are making the time, effort and trouble to communicate with your tenants there are many missed opportunities that could and should be available to you, without major cost implications.
Lets look at the 5 most important and valuable opportunities that already exist. Imagine if you had the freedom to re-design your statements so that they were easier and clearer to read and to understand and worked much harder for you and gave you a much greater value for money.
Imagine if you could consult with your residents so that they could choose a layout that they prefer. Imagine if you will, that you are starting from a blank piece of paper, that you can shape, to make them look and feel exactly as you want, free from the restrictions that your current IS
Opportunity No. 1
Your Statements can easily become clearer and easier to read, and quicker for your customers to understand…
Because of the highly restrictive nature of many housing management systems most Housing Associations do not have the flexibility to present their information in a manner that flows naturally and is clear and easy to understand. This imposes limitations on the readability of the
With the right expertise and bespoke program scripts it is perfectly possible to create a statement of your choice from scratch, and one that follows exactly what you require rather than making you adapt to its restrictions.
The secret is being able to use the raw data that your housing management system already produces and reproducing that in a format that suits the tenant rather than the program.
Furthermore, it is possible to quickly and easily produce a range of sample statements that you can use to circulate to your tenants for detailed consultation. This opportunity exists without the requirement for any extra time demand on your team.
Opportunity No. 2
Communicate much more effectively by personalising your Statements to each and every resident.
No doubt you would like statements to reflect the care and consideration that you offer to tenants elsewhere within your organisation. By being much more personalised you will be able to communicate as if you were talking directly to them on an informal basis.
Sophisticated software already exists which will allow you to do this, and you will be amazed at how many different aspects of each rent statement can be personalised.
You could very easily target highly personalised messages to individuals based on criteria from within your data or by data provided separately. We do it all the time, personalised, relevant, timely contents get results and is easy to do!
Put yourself back in control.
For example, there might be a need to communicate specific messages to residents at a post code level, on a particular estate, or perhaps those of a particular age, ethnicity or need (or any combination of these or other criteria).
Perhaps you would like to modify the exact wording of your arrears messaging to reflect the amount of arrears? Another example of personalisation could come in the form of bespoke pre-printed inserts which could be selectively inserted according to each individual’s requirements. This too is easy to do and means you can target relevant messages and supporting inserts.
For example you may wish to notify residents who are in arrears over a certain amount and within certain post codes of upcoming financial advice services within their locality by using personalised messaging and also include an accompanying leaflet. We do this all the time.
Opportunity No. 3
For the vast majority of UK Housing Associations, statements are printed in-house, often with access to all. When the statements are collated they may be sent using a non-secure courier to an outside, third party mailing house where the environment is wide open with virtually unlimited access, and zero ability to impose strict audit and security controls.
Because of the extremely sensitive and confidential nature of these documents (containing the most personalised details of all of your residents) it is imperative that the maximum security is involved. Ideally this should be to ISO27001 as insisted upon by all major financial institutions. A far more secure option to using couriers is to transfer data via secure ftp using 2048 encryption.
You should also take advantage of the use of bar coding. This allows you to demonstrate that every record received by your outsource provider is printed and mailed.
Intelligent mailing lines read the bar codes unique to each page of every statements and know which record is due next, how many pages it contains and therefore when to fold and enclose. Once enclosed, each statement’s bar code is read through a unique mailing line camera, counting every single statement and only allowing the operative to complete a mailing once every single envelope has been scanned and accounted for.
Opportunity No. 4
There are many ways in which an outsource rent statement service can save you money, but perhaps the most obvious saving is through postage discounts. You can save hundreds or even thousands of pounds each year in postal discounts. These are discounts that are
Any letter sized mailing over 4,000 envelopes will automatically qualify for mail sort discounts. Mail sortation can be carried out as a matter of course, with savings to be made compared to standard tariffs which you may only be currently achieving.
Another opportunity for cost saving exists with selective messaging which utilises white space within the body of each statement to enable you to include messages for no extra cost. These are the same messages you might otherwise send out as separate mailings which would otherwise incur additional print and postage costs.
Example saving –
A quarterly rent statement mailing to 5,000 customers which includes a graphical message in the body of the statement would cost absolutely no more to print. If the same message were printed on a leaflet and mailed separately the additional cost could easily be £1,800 or more. For quarterly statements this could be an annualised saving of £7,200.
With the use of the right expertise and resources, staff can be freed to concentrate on their core responsibilities and will not be tied up for several days every quarter printing, folding, enclosing and franking statements.
Which means more time can be spent on more pro-active tasks such as income collection.
Further savings can be made by freeing printers and servers otherwise busy producing documents, which could be more easily and more cost effectively outsourced.
Staff retention may be enhanced by outsourcing tedious tasks. Consider what happens when the printer or franking machine is broken, or key staff are on holiday or off sick; it is likely the whole billing process runs late and income recovery is adversely affected.
The cost of printing large print statements for visually impaired clients is often underestimated. It is common practice for them to be printed separately and usually involves them being enlarged on a photocopier. It is much more cost effective to automatically print them as part of the general needs statement run. The cost of Multi-lingual statements can be reduced by producing them in the same way.
Opportunity No. 5
Improved Customer Service
Modern statement systems provide for a full colour pdf of every statement to be available shortly after you have approved your proofs, indexed by tenancy reference (or any other naming convention you may require) which we transfer to secure ftp so that your Call Centre staff can see each statement exactly as it was sent to your customers.
Queries can be dealt with more quickly and effectively. Remember, a clearer, easier to understand statement will generate fewer disputes
What To Do Next?
If you can readily identify with even one of these 5 opportunities to improve the efficiency of your statements, then you can take advantage of our service without any net cost to you.
Before long you could be enjoying the same results as some of our existing clients.
What our customers say…
Our statements were screen print-outs from rent accounts, so not tenant-friendly or available in large print. GPS gave us some great layout examples, and it was valuable to see what had worked for other RSLs.
The implementation went very smoothly, and now we can tailor the appropriate message for every single statement. We automatically produce in large print where needed, and save significant postage costs by enclosing other documents at the same time. It now takes much less time to produce the statements.
We’ve had great feedback from tenants, with more direct debit sign-ups, and a big reduction in queries which has saved us significant staff resources.
I was also highly impressed with the site visit to the mailing house which GPS organised which was very transparent and well organised.
If I had to sum up the benefits of the GPS statements services I’d say our statements are now far more professional, more tenant-friendly, easier to produce, and far more cost and time effective than before. Just as important, the service and advice from GPS has been first-class!
Income Manager, Hertfordshire Housing Association
We were spending so much time and resource on producing mediocre rentstatements. Now our Tenants love them, cash flow has improved and staff can geton with their other work – and not dread the rent statement week each quarter!
Income Manager, North London Housing Association
Please call us on 01923 274670 for a no obligation discussion of how you can benefit from automated statement services. We will ask you some important questions on your current set-up, and identify potential log-jams and areas of inefficency. We’ll also explain the opportunities to personalise your statements, improve your tenant communications, and finally demonstrate the likely magnitude of any savings that are available to you.
If you take up my offer you’ll be in good company with 70+ other UK Housing Associations that have transformed the value of their statements and removed a major area of hassle from their organisation.
If it is more convenient, simply email your interest to:
Your customers deserve more from their rent statements than simply a reminder of how much they...