New figures show that local authorities are more and more reliant on bailiffs to collect debt – in fact it’s up 16% in the last two years (Money Advice Trust MAT). Innovating and thinking of new ways to encourage people to pay off any outstanding council tax or parking fines could save a considerable amount of time and also has a positive social impact.
A report by the Children’s Society has identified that most families who have been visited by the bailiffs say their children were at home at the time – the majority saying it left their children feeling frightened or worried. It’s thought up to 1.6 million children have been affected.
We’ve put together a few ways you can use digital technologies to increase repayments and reduce a reliance on bailiffs.
91% of adults keep their phone within arms reach (Morgan Stanley) so it’s almost impossible to miss a message through your device. Once a payment has been missed you can send an SMS reminder direct to their mobile. Including a link to an online payment portal is then a great way to encourage more people to settle their debt.
If people are struggling financially and aren’t able to settle their debts right away, giving them a friendly and less threatening way to get in touch is a simple but effective way of coming to an arrangement that works for both sides.
Offering an SMS chat service gives them the ability to talk through their issues with an agent and it seems much less daunting than having to speak on the phone. Having these conversations is a great starting point to getting debts settled.
Implementing an interactive voice response system provides another way to pay. Citizens can call up and pay over the phone. Automating the payment process helps to reduce your call volumes and give your agents more time to spend encouraging repayments.