Case Study: Moat Homes
Moat Homes is a housing association employing over 300 people and providing affordable homes in thriving communities for people in the South East. For over forty years, we’ve delivered high quality general needs homes for affordable rent, retirement housing, and independent living, and we have a strong affordable home ownership offer.
Arrears Reduction: £800,000 in ten months
Arrears: from 4.88% (June 2017) to 3.85% (April 2018) (Gross)
Before RentSense Moat Homes income team were using CRM to manage their arrears workload. However, there was concern that much of the team’s work was being duplicated and they were looking at accounts that required no action. Additionally, some of the local authorities where Moat operate had made the transition to full-service Universal Credit and they were aware of the impact this could potentially have on arrears collection.
To counter these concerns Moat started to research RentSense and they went to see other social landlords who use the system and were impressed with what they saw, plus they were also aware of its positive reputation within the sector.
Impact of Universal Credit
Moat Homes had projected the impact of full-service Universal Credit and believed it could deliver 3,000 new cases for the income team to manage, as well as modelling the potential impact on cashflow and bad debt, and therefore were keen to mitigate these effects.
“There was a need to free up capacity within the income team. As an organisation we cannot continue to provide extra resources indefinitely, we needed to target our efforts where they are required,” explains Kristian Melgaard, Director of Customer Contact at Moat.
“With the CRM we had one person checking and filtering the caseload before this was passed to the officers,” comments Lorraine Grindley, Head of Customer Accounts at Moat.
“However, this alone took them the majority of the day on a Monday, so the team were not getting their workload until the Tuesday.”
Part of Moat’s corporate strategy is to invest in innovative technology that enables them to work smarter, and it was this that drove them to look for a technical solution.
Lorraine added; “Delivering a consistent customer experience is what we want to do for our customers, dealing with all issues with the first point of contact, at the same time there should be a consistent income experience as well. So, we look to technology to see how it will benefit us and deliver that consistency to our customers, and solutions like RentSense can help us achieve that.”
“The most frustrating thing for the team was that there was no framework or structure. Once they started using RentSense, they would go into the system and say this is our workload for the day and it was all automated. It just seemed too easy.”
Improved Management Insight
As mentioned earlier it took around a day to prepare the workload before RentSense, and performance management was just as onerous, as Lorraine explains:
“Before it was a set of manipulated reports that was pulled out of several systems and transferred across to an excel spreadsheet that took time, now with RentSense it is all done with a click of a button.”
With RentSense clear objectives are now set in terms of how much work officers should complete in a day, and this is easily tracked and managed. Perhaps, more importantly, the staff have embraced it as they can see how easy it to use and importantly how accurate it is.
“The officers love it. One said to me ‘It’s absolutely brilliant!’. It would not be an exaggeration to say it has transformed that officer. Each week they now complete 100% of their work,” highlights Lorraine.
RentSense was rolled out in June 2017 at Moat with a target of helping reduce arrears by £600,000 in twelve months.
“Nine months after implementation we had exceeded our initial target (of reducing arrears by £600,000) and at the moment, about ten months post RentSense, arrears have fallen by almost £800,000,” explains Kristian.
“It has helped us have a huge impact, arrears have fallen from 4.88% to 3.85% (both gross figures) since installing RentSense,” comments Lorraine.
Prior to RentSense, Moat’s arrears had been static and the reason for deployment appears to be vindicated after just nine months. However, the benefits of RentSense extend beyond arrears reduction. They have used the system and tweaked it to suit their own needs.
At Moat Homes there is an expectation that the teams can deal with all the customers, so staff are currently being upskilled to deal with a variety of different customers whether that’s shared ownership, retirement, general needs as well as former tenant arrears. This cuts down on key person dependency and enables staff to work across accounts, and they are keen the organisation does not operate in silos; this is one of the reasons they are rolling out RentSense across shared ownership tenancies as well.
“We are set up to be flexible and adaptable and RentSense helps with that as officers can work on one another’s patches and there is visibility,” explains Lorraine.
“RentSense helps us to achieve better performance, case management and job satisfaction. The next stage was how can we get it to work even better, and that is what has driven our further investment.”
With the challenge of Universal Credit on the horizon Moat has begun testing RentSense’s Daily Processing, which captures all payments made each day, removing them from the weekly workload Once agreed this is another part of the system that will assist with non-duplication of the workload. They are also developing their own preferences of RentSense cases, as well as adding in bespoke elements to their caseload.
Lorraine also believes the additional investment in RentSense is a positive sign to their staff.
“This also offers further assurance to our teams as they can see we are investing in technology that helps them do their work more effectively.”
“Maximising income and sustaining tenancies are not mutually exclusive. We must support people in the right way, whether that’s early intervention, targeting specific support or encouraging them to work with us. The bottom line is about bringing in the money and keeping people in their homes, and that is what RentSense is helping us do,” comments Kristian.