It’s a great feeling when our clients thank us for the work we do for them, but it’s even better when they take the time and make the effort to send an hand written letter.
This is from is an IVA client, a Nurse in here early sixtys who, while in the 3rd year of her IVA in 2011 was advised to reduce her working hours by her Doctor. Her IVA was subject to a variation and IVA payments were reduced accordingly
In 2012 the client was advised to retire from nursing completely on medical grounds.
She had to date paid £11,000 into her IVA out of an an anticipated total of £16,000. We proposed to her creditors that the IVA should be concluded with the payments made to date representing a full and final settlement. This was accepted and now our client can look forward to retirement debt free.
She sent us the following letter of thanks.
Letter of Appreciation from a happy and now debt free IVA client.
I was so relived of the news I received about the creditors accepting the full and final settlement of the arrangement.
I have recommended Harrington Brooks to a few of my colleagues who have been in financial problems.
I found the staff at Harrington Brooks extremely helpful and understand to me every time I rang. It is such a weight off my mind when I applied for an IVA and reducing the payments each month due to my heavy outgoings each month.
Thank you so much for all the help you gave me. Now I can breath easier now I have retied early due to my health.
About Graeme Barker
Graeme is an IVA Case Administrator working in the IVA supervisory department of Harrington Brooks. He arranges and chairs variation meetings for our client’s when they are in need of changes to their arrangements. He’s been at Harrington Brooks since March 2010, originally working in debt management operations, before moving to IVA Supervisory in October 2011.
Its great getting feedback from clients, makes my job feel worthwhile, I enjoy being able to help customers when their circumstances change and knowing that we can help relieve stress from their financial situation.
Daniella Calderbank has worked in the insolvency industry for 5 years and currently manages the IVA annual reports team at Harrington Brooks. Here she takes a break from her day job to offer some insights into how working in the insolvency sector has changed her views on finances.
Having two young children, aged 1 and 3, and working full time has proven to be financially difficult at times. But having worked daily with clients’ income and expenditures and establishing what they are able to offer to creditors on a monthly basis and still having enough money for them to live off comfortably; it has made me look and my finances in a different light.
Before working in this sector I would receive my wage on a monthly basis, not having budgeted for anything at the start of the month, I would spend my money as and when I needed it soon realising that about 2 weeks into the month I had spent my entire wage. I then took out an overdraft with my bank, utilising this as if it were my income – which in turn cause me to have less money at the end of each month having to pay interest on the overdraft.
I was stuck in a rut and had no money left from my wage, again within two weeks of receiving it, and decided to take out a small credit card to substitute my income.
I was then introduced to the Insolvency Industry in 2007, starting off on in the post room – sending and receiving daily mail. I then worked my way up the ladder, and was part of the annual reviews team in 2009. My job was to assess clients’ monthly earning and expenses and determine how much they were able to afford for their IVA payments.
This made me realise that I should do the same with my finances and decided to write down my income and all my expenses, budgeting and giving myself allowances for certain things each month and stop living beyond my means. This meant that I was more aware of what I was spending on a day to day basis and not just spending my wage as and when I needed it. By doing this I was able to set aside some funds each month which I used towards clearing my credit card and overdraft.
Working in the finance sector has made me more aware of debt and has taught me how to manage my money better. I am now debt free and would not like to think of the amount of debt I would have if I had not taken control of my finances.
Money Saving Tips.
Below are some tips and advice on how you can save money the easy way:
Buy clothes on sale
Especially with having two growing children and having to buy clothes for myself for work as well as leisure, buying clothes can become quite expensive. Firstly, don’t focus on branded clothing, you are only going to be paying for the name – you will probably save yourself a lot of money with this step alone.
Secondly, have a look in your wardrobe to see which clothes you wear less often or don’t wear at all and avoid buying similar items like this in future. Try buying items that are versatile and that can been worn with different things so you can create different outfits with it. Last but not least, plan ahead – don’t buy clothes you are going to need for the current season – in winter buy summer clothes and in summer buy winter clothes. You can almost guarantee that these items will be on sale in the opposite months. Alternatively, if you are focused on fashion and current styles try shopping online and at fashion outlet stores.
Buy items in Bulk
Many items are cheaper when purchased in bulk. Certain items you won’t be able to buy in bulk as they will go bad – like milk and fresh goods. You want to think of items that you use on a daily basis that won’t go bad and that you will actually use. Things you may want to consider buying in bulk are: nappies, toilet roll, tined goods, shampoos, household cleaning agents, laundry detergents – these are all items that are easy to store and you know will last and you will use them.
Sign up for multiple Customer Reward Cards
Even if you don’t shop at each shop very often you should still sign up for a rewards cards as your points will eventually add up which you can then redeem. You will also be sent discount coupons on a regular basis and will be notified of current offers they have. I suggest that you create a separate email account to any existing ones that you may have and use this solely for your rewards account as they may send you additional offers and coupons in this way.
Invite friends round instead of going out
If you are a mum, like me, you will know that trying to get yourself ready for a night out with your friends and trying to get someone to babysit for you can sometimes be a bit of a nightmare. So instead of going out, avoid the stress of it, save yourself some money and invite your friends round to your house instead for a meal and a few drinks (once you have put the children to be of course). Everyone will have fun, the cost will be low, and the others will likely reciprocate not long afterwards.
Prepare your food for work for the week
After a long day at work, the last thing you want to think about is preparing your dinner for work the next day. It’s easier to walk to the next sandwich shop of you might have sandwich lady that comes round to the office – but how much is this costing you? On average you will spend £3 per day in this way, that’s £15 per week – £60 per month! Ok so you don’t have time to prepare yourself something day-by-day, so why not make yourself a couple of meals over the weekend which you can pop in the fridge/freezer – this will save you time, and money.
People all over the UK are being told of the rising prices for Gas and Electricity. Here we explain some of the reasons behind this and the steps can make to protect yourself from rising prices.
Rises in the price of energy supplies have caused political controversy this week, as the Prime Minister announced utility companies would be force to provide, or offer, the lowest available tariffs to consumers. He is accused of making it up on the spot though, as neither the energy secretary nor the energy companies knew about it beforehand.
Energy prices are rising in the UK due to a variety of factors, but the chief blame is ascribed to rising global energy prices. Since 2005 more gas has been imported from abroad than was produced in the UK, and prices have risen every year since. Up to 50% of Britain’s energy is from burning gas, and much is bought from mainland Europe for and during winter. It is supplied through pipelines from Norway and Belgium.
The price of gas is linked very closely on mainland Europe with the price of oil. Increased usage from the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China’s ever-expanding economy in particular) means there is more demand for oil all over the globe, pushing prices up. Uncertainty over the political situation with Libya during the Arab Spring, or with Iran, also caused oil price rises. And as they go up, so does gas prices for Europe – and Britain.
Nearly a third of Britain’s energy comes from burning coal, while less than a fifth comes from renewable and nuclear sources.
Energy suppliers in Britain say global prices and distribution maintenance costs have forced their hand, but there are plenty of different tariffs and price plans that consumers can take advantage of if they want to switch their supplier.
The Direct Debit Guarantee
The cheapest way to pay energy bills is by direct debit – utility suppliers, like most companies, encourage this as it is an easy to manage and collect for them, reducing their costs so they can offer a discount by this method.
Direct Debits benefit consumers by allowing them to have a (generally) fixed amount come out each month, which is a twelfth of your estimated annual usage – estimated based on the previous year. You will most likely pay more than you use in summer – but similarly pay less than you use in winter, so it allows for more consistent budgeting throughout the year.
If you do not supply the company with meter readings, they can continue to charge the agreed amount as there is no information to the contrary – and although your account may be in credit, the DD amount will not be automatically reduced, so you will be continued to be charged, with the credit acting as backup in case your usage steeply climbs.
Ofgem, the regulatory body monitoring energy suppliers, reckon that up to £55 is made by energy suppliers every year per customer, because people continue to pay the direct debit without monitoring their actual usage, compared to accepting the supplier’s estimate.
The Big Six
Competition between energy companies, particularly the ‘big six’ who are British Gas, NPower, Scottish Power, Eon, EDF and Scottish & Southern Electric, is encouraged by Ofgem. Last month, Ofgem relaxed the rules on switching from one supplier to another, to allow those with up to £500 arrears with one company to switch, whereas previously the limit was £200 arrears; and to allow those on prepayment meters to switch too.
Between them, there are estimated to be literally thousands of different tariffs for electricity and gas supplies offered by the big six. Ofgem are seeking to have that reduced to four, for each fuel, from each supplier, to enable people to have a better understanding of the offers available.
There are fears that the government’s plan to enforce offering the lowest tariff may, however, harm consumer interests. If the big six are forced to offer consumers their lowest tariff, they may decide to do away with or reduce those tariffs, and replace them with higher fees – in essence making their ‘cheapest’ tariffs less cheap.
Cheaper and discounted introductory offers from the big six are subsidised by the payments from the two-thirds of their customers who pay standard tariffs, who often don’t question the amount they are being charged by DD.
Make sure you are not among those overpaying for your gas and electricity – contact Harrington Brooks today to see what savings you can make on the energy payments.
Utility Bills Benefits and Grants
We have product a guide on our website explaining thee several benefits and grants aimed at those on lower incomes not only to help with costs, but also to pay for home improvements to help lower energy costs.
Earlier this month, Paul Hughes wrote this article explaining how the poor economy is continuing to affecting millions of UK individuals. In a continuation of that article I thought it might be a good idea to provide another illustration to visually represent the state of the economy.
This graphic segments a number of key elements affecting the UK economy with figures provided publicly by the Credit Action website.
Take a look and let us know what you think. For a larger view please click on the image.
Congratulations to Victoria Rostron in the IVA department at Harrington Brooks for winning Employee of the Month.
Each month all staff are invited to nominate a colleague for employee of the month. The person with most votes wins this most coveted of accolade and 100 pounds of Love To Shop vouchers.
Matt Cheetham; Harrington Brooks CEO comments:
“Since joining Harrington Brooks 3 years ago Victoria has proved to be a valued member of the team. She is hard working and always willing to go the extra mile in order to achieve her individual and team targets. She is always willing to help out on other departments in times of need which is greatly appreciated by other mangers within the department”
Below an excerpts from Victoria’s nominations this month:
“She is always willing to help even though she doesn’t work on my department. She will stay late and help whenever she is needed.”
When my department were extremely short staffed this month she helped me do my work as well as her own work. She also showed other people how to help. She is always happy and doesn’t moan.
“She helps new starters and is always polite on the phone to staff and customers”
“By being so helpful she reduces the work load on other departments and gives a good impression to customers”
“She is always going out of her way to help others nothing is too much trouble, she frequently stays behind after hours and will willingly call client that have not been contacted for other members of staff during their shift”.
“She is a pleasure to work with, she is always cheerful, she is a credit to Harrington Brooks The fact that she will automatically ask if there are any client that have not been contacted and stay behind after hours to complete others work”
Victoria noticed that two weeks ago the administration team were short staffed, immediately she started to the necessary work on completing the manual and electronic diary and gave them a helping hand. This is not her job and she did not have to do this, but as it helps everyone concerned in Pre appointment IVA, she does go the extra mile to help others”
Another employee who has been singled out by your nominations for their sterling attitude to their work and their colleagues.
James Darrell in One Advice:
“James always exceeds expectations in his work. He will always stay late to finish off whatever work load he has and even though he is busy with his own work he will always find the time to help other departments ”
The biggest shake-up in the Welfare state since 1945 is underway. This is being called Universal Credit. Here we explain the thinking behind it and what it could mean for you.
It has long been a goal of those on the political right to reduce spending on benefits, but in an economy spluttering and wheezing through a double-dip recession, the coalition government have began a radical overhaul of state assistance.
As well as the economic need to cut costs, many have argued for a long time that some benefits are unfair, or do not take into account people’s real needs. Occasional controversies in the media over non-working households receiving too much money, or elderly or disabled people not receiving enough, have brought many to accept that something needs to done – but exactly what has never been able to be agreed upon.
We offer a Benefit Check-Up Service exclusively for existing Harrington Brooks Debt Management and IVA clients.
And despite concrete plans announced by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, that agreement is still to be achieved. For all the sound wisdom or honest intentions to help behind the new proposals, there are as many criticisms and concerns from charities, businesses and public bodies that the ambitious plans will not succeed.
The main change is that six current core benefits will be replaced by Universal Credit. The six are
Child Tax Credits,
Working Tax Credits and
Perhaps as importantly, Universal Credit (UC) will be paid monthly only – not weekly, fortnightly or every four weeks.
All claims and payments will be managed by an online account. Also, one person (or bank account) per household will receive all UC payments, and housing benefit will be paid to the claimant, not directly to the landlord.
Overall, up to 8 million households could be affected. Other changes will see Disability Living Allowance replaced by Personal Independence Payments.
A lot of the changes will rely on activity by the person making the claim. Part of the government’s problem with ‘dependency culture’ was the belief that people receiving long-term benefits lost responsibility for managing their affairs. One controversial element of the reforms is that making payments for rent, for example, falls now upon the claimant.
There are fears many of the most vulnerable may find themselves not able to cope with these extra pressures. Equally, the insistence on an online account may exclude those who are not computer literate.
Going Online and Online and Online
The Government argue that 72% of all jobs involve some level of IT literacy, although this does not take into account the fact that much low-paid or manual employment – often the temporary or short-term jobs people returning to work initially find – will not require these skills.
But the new system has been designed to be ‘digital by default’. Former Conservative party leader IDS has said it is a “very good opportunity to get these people back into the 21st century”. An online system is less expensive to run, too.
UC claimants will be encouraged to maintain and monitor their online account, making their own changes as needed. Job Centres will have ‘digital champions’ or support will also be by telephone, if anyone cannot submit the information themselves.
The system itself is a risk – a massive new program intended to streamline essential Government processes has been tried before, with the NHS at the turn of the century: and it failed to be implemented as intended at huge multi-million costs to the tax-payer. Many are fearful that this administration may suffer the same expensive embarrassment .
The End of the Week
Encouraging people to develop more abilities useful for employment is also the thinking behind changing payments from throughout the month to once a month – supposedly 75% of jobs pay per month; but again, research indicates that among lower-paid or temporary work, the amount of jobs that pay per week amount to over 40%.
The Social Market Foundation’s report on the effects of Welfare reform found that only half of those earning less than £10,000 a year were paid monthly. Of the lowest-paid 40% in the UK, four in ten received weekly pay.
Also, people were concerned that one lump sum will disrupt some the budgeting arrangements many households have developed. People allocate certain benefits to certain costs – child tax credits to children’s clothes or school requirements for example. The simplicity intended by changing to one monthly payment may actually make budgeting a lot more complicated for some families.
The House Always Wins
The responsibility of making payments for housing is also laced with risk. Although the intention is to give people greater responsibility, policy development consultancy Policies found that a huge 93% receiving housing benefit said they would prefer direct payments be made to their landlords.
Some of the thinking behind encouraging people to own the responsibility is ‘nudge’ theory: ways to encourage people to make better choices for themselves, like why schools might display healthy food at children’s eye-level in a canteen, or why cigarette packets show pictures of the effects of smoking.
Again, changing people’s behaviour is a less expensive solution that many other options, and giving the responsibility of managing people’s affairs back to them is part of the philosophy behind the Prime Minister’s Big Society initiative.
The Social Market Foundation’s report was not accidentally entitled Sink or Swim. State assistance, also, is not mistakenly titled – it is assistance for those who cannot entirely, or at all, support themselves. The flip side of this greater responsibility, and potential push in the right direction, is the greater risk that many of those most in need of help will find themselves cast more adrift from society than before.
Universal Credit Time Frame
The changes have started…..
Income Support for new claimants being replaced for lone parents, now being required to claim JSA or ESA.
This will see a change in child benefit. A cap will be introduced, so people earning over £50k, and up to £59999 will receive a reduced amount, with people over £60k no longer being eligible to receive the payment.
The new Universal Credit, which replaces all other benefits types will be piloted for new claimants in certain parts of the country. Greater Manchester is one of those area’s. Full rollout to commence October 2013.
A huge change for those claiming hosing benefit. Anyone under the age of 62 claiming, and has up to 2 spare bedrooms in their house can see their benefit payment reduced by up to 25%.
The national council tax benefit scheme is replaced by a localised council tax support scheme, run by your local council.
Working Tax Credits – people will be required to report any income change of over £5000
Housing benefit – for some non-working households, payments may be reduced.
Disability living allowance is replaced by Personal Independence Payment for new claimants aged 16-64. Independent medical assessments to be performed.
Universal Credit launched for new working age claimants. This will complete by March 2014. This new means tested benefit replaces ALL current means tested benefits and tax credits.
Pension Credit – couples will only qualify when the youngest reaches the qualifying age, rather than the oldest.
Introduction of a £50 penalty for incorrectly completing an online claim, or for failing to provide the correct information on your claim. No right to appeal.
This month sees the gradual transfer of current working age benefits claimants (means tested) to Universal Credit. This will be a phased transition, taking up until March 2017 to complete.
Benefit Cap launched, which will reduce the housing cost element within Universal Credit. This will affect some non-working households. The impact is to reduce Universal Credit payments being made.
Janis Marshall is a new recruit to the Harrington Brooks team. She works in the custumer services department, helping our debt management clients who need support with their plan. Janis has offered to share some of her own money saving tips with us, in this, her first attempt at blogging.
In difficult times like these it’s hard to make your money spread as far as it needs to go and believe me; I know how that feels. Having recently seperated from my husband and buying my own property, I’m definatley feeling the pinch. So changes are urgently needed to find ways to save money, without having to give up my life completely!
While I’ve been going through this change I have come across a few areas that can save money and whilst they don’t all benefit me, I thought they may help you so I want to share some hints and tips to help make things a little easier.
Earning interest in your account
Could you be earning money from your current account?
There are great little ways to make your money work for you with your bank accounts. I have a current account and a saving account on which I get a daily interest and each month it is applied to my account. So a couple of months ago I thought how can I make this work better and like a light switch moment it came to me. Here is what I do;
Firstly I changed all my bills to the last possible date they can be paid.
Next I set up a standing order so that when my salary goes in my current account it was transferred to my savings account
I then set up a standing order so that the money I needed to pay my bills is transfered to my current account at the very last moment. For all my other spending I’m careful to transfer just the money I need when i need it.
I find that by checking my accounts online every day really helps me stay on top of things. By doing this I’m earning a few extra pounds interest per month.
Doctor’s Orders – Save On Prescriptions
As the pressure increases and our daily lives getting busier and more stressful there are a lot more of us becoming poorly and having to go to see the doctors. What does it mean? A prescription for the nice price of £7.65.
Now this cost doesn’t seem that much unless you have more than one item and on a regular basis. Take me for example, every month I was getting three items on my prescription and an additional 2 every quarter. Over the year I was spending £321.30 and this was without any addition illness where I may need antibiotics.
So working this out I thought this is ridiculous surely as I’m on this regularly the doctor can give me a longer prescription. So on my next visit I spoke to the doctor and he agreed to do it for 2 months at a time. So now I was spending £183.60 a year. Result I thought, until a colleague at work told me about the annually prescription. Now I hadn’t heard of this and asked my colleague to explain and it was simply I went home that evening went on to the NHS site and got myself an annual prepaid prescription for the price of £140 saving me a further £43.60.
It just shows what you can save if you just know how to. Now I don’t need to worry about where the money is coming from for my next prescription, happy days!
P.S. Even if you dont have a lot of medication like me, always check with the chemist before getting your medcine/pills how much it is to buy over the counter should it be available without a perscription. Sometimes you can save yourself a few pounds and I’m sure you would agree better in your pocket than theirs.
Saving on Travel Insurance
If you are like me, we love the sun and having little breaks away and whilst holidays can be dear enough the insurance soon bumps the prices up especially if you get a flight only. Therefore it can be more benifical finacially to get a yearly insurance policy.
For example: When I have had a flight only to Europe I have paid £11.99 for each person but by then going to a yearly one I have paid £38.99 and this has been for a family of four, easy savings.
Costs at the moment for a family of four can range from:
Single trip insurance – £10.21 to £165.28
Annual insurance - £24.60 to £129.95
It pays to shop around, don’t you think?
Another tip about annual traval insurance, is to not to renew as soon as the old policy expires. Get your new policy to start the day before your next trip.
Value in Value added bank accounts
What do we all have these days, yes that’s right a mobile phone and what comes with it? insurance. We also have things like breakdown cover for our cars, especially in winter months, travel insurance and home insurance. All these things can add up over the month to be quiet costly. Well there ways that you can save on these, we all these days need a bank account, mostly for having our salary paid into. If you look around online or on the high street you’ll find that banks are offering a variety of accounts, from your basic to your more exclusive one. Your basic ones don’t charge you and then as the move along you find that you have to pay for the others.
Now when I first heard this I thought – no way am I paying for an account for the bank to have my money sat in their business, but as time has gone on and I have had to make some real life changes I have looked more closely. It turns out that with my phone insurance, breakdown cover alone I am saving myself a little fortune by taking out one of these bank account, Kerching.
Whats even better I even get additional extras that I wouldn’t have had before, I feel my life getting better all the time.
Better to spend Tesco Clubcard Vocuhers online
I love food, but not so much the shopping for it and that’s why I love having Tesco deliever. Lazy I know but it intrepts my TV time, anyway thats not what I want to share with you. Like most Tescos shoppers (and listen even if your not) I have a clubcard and each month I wait patiently for my clubcard vouchers to come through so that I can go and treat myself to a piece of clothing or a new CD. This I thought was great and was more than happy with, but then I was having a coffee with a good friend and we happened to be talking about Tesco’s and thats when he shared his ‘Golden Nugget’.
Now instead of spending his vouchers in store he goes on to the clubcard site and exchanges them for passes to go through the Euro tunnel when he’s going on holiday. The reason why he does this is that he gets more for the value of the voucher and over the last few years has not paid a penny for the euro tunnel and he goes a lot. Theres not just the Euro Tunnel, but days to take you kids to, weekends away, boxes of wine ect and I love that you get more for FREE. Bring it on is what I say !!
Financial difficulties for millions of people in the UK show no sign of lessening, according to figures from a national charity.
Personal debt in the UK rose by over £40bn from July 2011 to July this year, to over £1.4tn. What this means is an average personal debt level (including mortgages) for every adult in the country of over £28,000 – nearly a fifth higher than the average adult’s national wage.
Credit Action became an independent charity in 1992 with a vision of helping people avoid the pain that debt and the mismanagement of personal finances can bring.
Credit Action, a charity working across the financial industry to provide education on money matters, also reported that the amount of people out of work for over a year has risen, to over 882,000 – and that nearly 1,639 people a day are being made redundant.
Although the overall number of people unemployed has fallen, the economy has shrank by half a percent for the third quarter running, confirming the current recession’s impact on millions of workers.
Providing Assistance With Personal Debt
Even with the assistance of companies like Harrington Brooks, who provide debt management and advice to over 36,000 people across the UK, personal debt issues are rising still.
The Citizens Advice Bureau has experienced a rise in debt queries – there are 8465 new issues on average per day, accounting for a third of all inquiries dealt with by CABs all over the country.
Debt worries are second only to benefit problems that the CAB deal with, an area that itself may rise following the Government’s recent welfare reforms.
Benefits are being claimed by 5.9m people of working age in the UK – a figure that has also risen since last year. Less and less people are able to rely on stable income from a job, leading to increased anxiety and stress when making ends meet.
Security At Home
Harrington Brook’s partner USwitch, who provide no-obligation quotes and price-comparison checks for energy companies and suppliers, surveyed consumers on their feelings of financial security – and found that the average household falls nearly £1500 short each month.
61% of people felt financially insecure, and felt that if all payments and needs were met they would on average require an estimated £3939 – however, average household income of respondents was £2504, £1435 away from a comfortable worry-free financial situation.
35% of those surveyed said financial security meant not having to rely upon credit to make essential monthly payments – but nearly two-thirds of this group using credit for day-to-day living.
Dealing With Debt
The number of people R3 (the Association of Business Recovery Professionals) estimate to be in debt management plans of various kinds may be as high as 700,000 in the UK.
Over half a million more are believed to have contacted creditors about reduced payments, due to financial stresses – but as much as 916,000 are said to be struggling yet have not sought any help or advice.
Harrington Brooks provides impartial assistance in dealing with debts and creditors – whatever circumstances or amounts you may be experiencing difficulties with, calling our professional and knowledgeable staff can be the first step in dealing with debt problems large and small.
Harrington Brooks have released the results of their most recent customer survey, a review conducted every three months covering the full range of our customers’ experience. The results show that, yet again, on the whole, we’re improving and continuing to exceed the expectations of our clients.
The system used in analysing this experience divides customers into categories of advocates, passives and detractors. Interviews with customers are conducted by telephone, and deal with a wide variety of areas such as friendliness of staff, overall communication and particularly how likely customers might be to recommend the service to friends and family members.
Any company committed to excellence; must listen to it’s customers and always to looking to improve their experience.
The most recent quarter has shown a decrease in detractors (people who mark aspects of performance at 6 out of 10, or less) – and an increase in the overall Net Promoter Score, the overall figure on which the survey is focused.
What is the NPS?
The NPS is a system with an exacting standard demanded of achievements in customer satisfaction. Although someone giving a rating of for example 5 or 6 out of 10 may not feel negatively towards that product or service. The NPS seeks to establish what has been done to generate high levels of enthusiasm for products and services, as these word-of-mouth recommendations for companies are very often the prime indicator of customer loyalty, which has been proven to be a crucial component in company growth.
As an expanding company in terms of both staff and customers, Harrington Brooks uses the NPS system to propel it further on towards achieving greater customer satisfaction. Although the categorisation of any score 60% or less counted as a detractor may seem overly hard, the NPS concentrates focus on areas where the important aspects of customer experience can be built upon.
“It is a very professional service. Harrington Brooks have far greater knowledge of what is possible in my situation than the common man would.” DM, Redruth
Customers rating any service or area provided by Harrington Brooks in this area, of 60% or less, amounts to just a fifth of those surveyed, meaning 80% of all clients surveyed rated performance of 7 out of 10 or above.
Knowledge and professionalism of staff, including warmth of greeting and did the client feel engaged with the advisor.
How well information was provided
How well the client kept informed during the application process
Clarity and ease of understanding of forms and documentation extremely highly.
“I don’t have to chase anything up, they do it all for me. What they said would happen has happened. They keep in contact with me regularly.” SR, Bedford
There were some areas where even slight improvements may be made, in the opinion of those categorised as ‘passive’ (scoring performance at 7 or 8 out of 10) that could push their rating into the ‘advocate’ category (performance of 9 or 10), ie someone who would recommend Harrington Brooks to another. Those categories include verbal communication (explaining clearly and concisely aspects of the plan, without relying upon debt industry jargon or technical terms) and ensuring that tasks are completed in the timescale pledged.
Steps are already underway to take action on some of these aspects – Harrington Brooks have instigated a text message service informing clients of when payments have been able to be made to their creditors, and revamping the online account to enable payments to creditors to be monitored as well; all intended to improve communication and empower clients.
“I give them a call if there is a problem and they sort it out. We had a creditor contact us in a bullying way, we sent everything to Harrington Brooks and they resolved the problem for us.” PS, Torrington
The economy was the area of the survey to which respondents conveyed least enthusiasm – obviously something out of Harrington Brooks’ power to control. Clients’ views on the current economic climate saw a rise of 6% (to 83%) of those who feel pessimistic at the moment – undoubtedly a reflection of what over the last few months has been declared a double-dip recession.
Economic difficulties in an economy are not necessary for a successful debt management provider to flourish – but they certainly make a debt management company’s skills all the more necessary for a much greater number of people. This is a responsibility Harrington Brooks takes very seriously.
These quarterly Customer Reviews are intended to help build upon the already sterling service provided to an expanding customer base of over 30,000 people, and to continue to improve in providing the best customer experience possible.