The two key enforcement trends for local authorities

Following the very successful conference that Telsolutions put on in Cardiff in June, we spoke to director Dan Pearce to discuss the two emerging trends that will have a big impact on enforcement and revenue collection for local authorities.

Dan said that these two innovation trends are digital communications and having meaningful conversations with customers. Both of these are linked to early identification of mental health issues, which David Grimes, Head of Training at Excel, presented on at the conference.

Digital communication

A move to digital forms of communication will provide a great deal of customer insight, which, if used effectively, can help local authority teams and enforcement agencies better understand the customer’s circumstances and identify mental health issues earlier.

Now more than ever, local authorities are under pressure to achieve better results and recover more income so they need to move away from the shotgun approach of sending volume reminders and adopt a targeted approach based on the customer’s digital footprint.

That digital footprint provides insight into the customer’s circumstances. For example, if they have clicked on a link to a debt advice organisation in your digital communications, that will indicate a degree of financial difficulty.

Dan believes that the investment by local authorities in digital communications will deliver better results. It should also reduce the number of reminders that need to be sent out.

Gathering and then sharing this insight with enforcement agencies will improve the collection outlook because the enforcement agent will have knowledge before they visit. If the enforcement agency is also using digital communications to reach the customer, this will further enhance that insight, making it a win-win.

Telsolutions is currently working with Cisco on how digital communications can open the door to understanding the customer and their ability and propensity to pay better than before.

The need for meaningful conversation

As human beings, when we resolve a matter, we want a meaningful conversation, not just a factual, short text message.

Chat bots which work around customers’ lives can be used for discovery through applying MSC (meaningful connection scoring) to identify trigger words to indicate circumstances such as stress or potential suicidal thoughts, so that the conversation can be passed over to relevant team members.

This would also help the enforcement agent understand the customer better.

Google has developed an Android rich communications service (RCS) protocol which greatly enhances conversations, as well as giving great insight into the customer’s digital footprint.

RCS also provides peace of mind for customers, many of whom are worried about clicking on links in emails and text messages, particularly when they receive their first message from an enforcement agency, which can give rise to uncertainty as they may think their debt is being handled by the local authority.

With RCS, you can register your ownership of a domain and number with Google, which fully prevents anyone else from sending scam messages while pretending to be you.

Telsolutions is the only company in the UK using RCS.

RCS is a visual and colourful messaging system, that can be branded. When the user clicks on a button it opens up a conversation. It is like a text message with an app experience, but without an associated app. It has full tracking and takes the customer on a journey within the text, providing a conversation and a better outcome for the customer.

What change can these technologies deliver?

Dan says that these technologies can enable digital conversations that are more meaningful by gathering data and insight, to provide a more targeted and personalised experience. Using the digital footprint allows the local authority and the enforcement agent to better understand the customer, to identify mental health problems in advance of a visit and to make those visits more effective.

Excel Quick Pay - the new debtor app

The app is free to download and free to use. It has been designed to give debtors a quick, easy and user-friendly way to manage their debt.


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