In 2002, we were awarded the contract to manage the BBC's TV licensing functions. Every year, TV Licensing (TVL) contacts, chases, and collects license fees from 94% of UK households. This equates to £3.5bn in license fees which the BBC uses to fund its programmes and services.
In the past, the government reimbursed the BBC for the cost of issuing free TV licences to those aged 75 and older. However, in April 2020 this government funding ceased, after a phased reduction in funding in the three years leading up to 2020. A new scheme was introduced which required anyone aged 75 or over, who do not receive Pension Credit, to buy a licence if one is required.
TV Licensing was faced with the prospect of having to communicate with over four million new customers. Additionally, they would need an effective way of processing the applicants’ data, payments, and where applicable, proof of benefit.
We stepped in and were able to help the organisation to process incoming information, mail and payments in a scalable environment - enabling them to provide the best support and customer service possible.
Bespoke centralised workflow
TV Licensing partnered with us to improve efficiencies and reduce costs. A full digital mailroom service was established offering mail sortation, scanning, form indexation, cheque processing, response services to customer queries, return of cherished items and goneaway processing. Additionally, they changed the way their correspondence was produced and how their cheques were printed.
15,000 mail items are received and processed per day, converted into searchable digital files and routed directly into the correct workflow for the client. Hard copies of documents are archived so they can be easily accessed for audit and customer service purposes. In addition, retention and secure destruction is carefully managed.
Each day, over 800 cheques are received and processed securely. Using automated processes, we capture all data, including a unique customer ID number, account holder name and address, and bank and building society details. At scheduled intervals throughout the day, the files are transferred back to TVL once verified.
TV Licensing’s correspondence is now handled within our automated centralised production facility using hybrid mail, where 1,300 correspondence packs are produced per day and sent out via the customer’s preferred communication channel. We also securely print 900 cheques per day using agreed templates.
Ensuring a seamless customer experience
With the introduction of a licence fee for those aged 75 and over, TV Licensing was faced with a new challenge. Not only did they need to engage with over 4 million new customers, ensuring that the needs of the elderly and vulnerable were taken into consideration when preparing the customer communications, but they also had to implement new ways of payment.
We worked closely with them to design new application forms which would enable the correct data to be captured and allow the customer to either pay in one go, set up a payment plan or if eligible - via proof of benefits - apply for a free licence.
By enhancing their current scanning solution, we could scan and optically read the data contained in the new forms. The data was then verified and validated, if necessary, with further input from our team, to confirm the applicant's details. The data files are then sent to TVL's back-office system for processing.
The impact of contacting over 4 million new customers resulted in an extra 12,000 mail items a day, growing to 27,000 at its peak. This was in addition to their business as usual work. To facilitate this increased workload, we set-up a specific dedicated team of operators to manage the over 75s campaign, which was responsible for processing all correspondence and payments.
Benefits of our service to BBC TV Licensing
- Improved tracking - a high level of confidence can be achieved for audit purposes by providing digital copies of correspondence and payments coming into the business.
- Faster processing of business-critical documents - important documents are handled quickly and securely, providing an increased efficiency, agility and speed.
- Higher output, lower outgoings - streamlined automated operations improve productivity whilst driving down costs.
Key outcomes for BBC TV Licensing
- Open communication between the BBC TV Licensing service and ourselves, through regular meetings, has strengthened our working relationship.
- Enhancing the existing scanning solution by introducing OCR provided an accurate, secure and efficient way of transferring data into the TV Licensing system.