Torfaen County Borough Council has used NEC Revenues & Benefits successfully for over 20 years. Like any authority facing growing demand on a limited budget, they needed a cost-effective and customer-friendly way to increase revenue collection rates. So in May 2017 they went live with the SMS Module from NEC.
This module uses real-time data from within NEC Revenues and Benefits to automate the sending of individual and bulk SMS messages. Torfaen CBC tailor the text message template and include links to make payments.
Since going live, Torfaen has been able to radically improve collection rates, and cut down on paper and postage costs.
“The SMS Module is incredibly cost-effective. Our processing times are down, we send far fewer reminders and 30% of recipients make a payment within a week.”
Since going live, the need to send paper reminders has fallen dramatically. Torfaen sent 40% fewer paper reminders in August 2019 than they did in 2018, which means a big reduction on manual processing as well as print and postage costs.
As well as reminders, the council can also send requests for information via the individual text option. This is particularly useful in Benefits where copies of previous payslips and proofs are regularly required. Once the council goes live with Citizen Access: Revenues, customers will be able to follow the link in the text and upload the requested images direct from their smartphones.
Emma also believes that the convenience of SMS will help to reduce the number of cases of non-payment that reach the courts, reducing the impact on the council’s recovery officers and customers alike.
“SMS is a more immediate form of communication and it’s something that people use every day. It’s helping us to work far more efficiently and it clearly suits our customers too.”