Archive for September, 2014

DRF and DEMSA Conference

One Advice

Today the Mercure Manchester Picadilly Hotel is home to the Debt Resolution Forum Conference, in association with DEMSA.

The conference focuses on such topics as FCA Authorisation, the Future of Cert DR and the Future of Debt Management. Speakers include DRF Chairman David Mond and General Secretary of DEMSA Richard Wharton, as well as representatives from the Money Advice Service, Christians Against Poverty and The Debt Counsellors Charitable Trust.

Independent on Sunday Features My Care Claim’s Kerry Blackhurst

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Director of Castle Keep Law and My Care Claim, Kerry Blackhurst, was a featured expert in this week’s Independent on Sunday.

The article tackles the issue of care costs, including equity release plans and property downsizing, following a study by MetLife that reveals one in 5 over 50s expect they will have to sell their property if they need care.

In many cases, those receiving care should receive NHS funding for part or all of the costs. But, as Kerry explains, all to often people are not aware of the help they are entitled to:

“This funding is not commonly known about. Often people in private residential or nursing homes who pay for their own care meet the NHS criteria but may not be pointed in this direction.”

Around three quarters of over 65s will enter the care system, with many families forced to use assets and savings to fund care for their loved one. The My Care Claim team are experienced in reclaiming care fees that should be covered by the NHS.

Kerry was recently accepted into national association Solicitors for the Elderly (read the full article here), a national association dedicated to promoting the knowledge and services surrounding legal issues affecting the elderly.

Making Customer Feedback Count

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One of the key aims of the One Advice Group is to provide the best customer service in the industry. We place a lot of emphasis on continual improvement, and one of the tools we use to identify strengths and areas in which to improve is customer feedback.

At key milestones in a financial management plan (FMP) and IVA, customers are sent surveys to encourage them to feed back how they’ve been getting on, and to share their opinions on the journey they’ve undergone so far. We want to make sure customers are treated with integrity and in a way that is fair and so we monitor service levels and the delivery of value for money. The aim is to meet, and hopefully exceed customer expectations.

Last year Harrington Brooks received over 7,000 completed surveys from FMP and IVA customers enabling the tracking, monitoring and analysis of trends in feedback. The surveys provide customers with the opportunity to feedback specific comments using a scale of responses ranging from “agree strongly” to “disagree strongly” to statements such as;

  • I am satisfied with the service from Harrington Brooks.
  • The “FMP or IVA” was explained to me clearly.
  • I receive regular updates regarding my plan.
  • My advisers are helpful.
  • I now feel more in control of my finances.
  • I would recommend Harrington Brooks to friends or family.

We also measure the awareness and response to changes we make. Last year, 79% of those who responded said they would recommend us to a friend or family member.

Each week, the senior directors and managers meet to discuss survey results, to assess them and decide up on any appropriate actions required. This can be on a purely micro level, for instance, the rapid response team might contact a customer to resolve an issue they have reported within their individual survey, or it can result in wider change within the company as a result of more macro trend analysis.

Some of the changes we have made as a direct result of customer feedback include;

  • an increase in the number of pre-paid envelopes we send out as standard to customers, so that they can easily forward any creditor communications.
  • the introduction of 0330 numbers so that a typical call will cost the same as a local number and are often free as part of mobile phone packages.

Within survey feedback, it is clear that communication is extremely important to customers – though the level of communication desired was varied. Some preferred to only be contacted when strictly necessary, whilst others wanted regular updates and reassurance as their plan progressed.

To allow us to be more responsive to customers’ communication needs, investments have been made in a number of initiatives, such as:

  • a £50,000 email software system has been integrated to make our e-communications more efficient
  • our Live Chat tool, so customers can get real time advice online from trained advisers.
  • The improvement and re-launch of our My Online Account tool for customers on debt management plans, so that they can access the details and progress of their plan 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Customer feedback does count. We do listen, read and analyses the responses we receive – it’s integral to the group’s ongoing commitment to continuous development and improvement. We thank you for your time.