Debt Free London provide expert “face-to-face” debt advice to Londoners 24/7 using cloud-based RACE from Ciptex.

Ciptex Race enabled Debt Free London to continue providing expert and free debt advice to Londoner’s throughout lockdown.

  • Face-to-face solution using Video Kiosks
  • Extended cover to 24/7 using home based agents
  • Handle calls, chat, video, and WhatsApp in one solution
  • 85% increase in contact handling capacity

“Since the service has been in use, Debt Free London has facilitated over 4,700 conversations with clients; this could not have been achieved if Debt Free London were not using Ciptex RACE.”

– Matt Dronfield, Head of Debt Free London

Who was involved?

Debt Free London provide debt advice services, helping over 24,000 Londoners with their debt and money problems each year since they formed in 2006.

Their trained and accredited advisors are drawn from 21 partner charities, based across 55 sites throughout London, helping with all types of money worries from rent and council tax arrears, to credit card and catalogue debt. They can work with clients to prioritise their bills and debts, supporting them when writing letters and advocating on their behalf.

Debt Free London is funded to provide face-to-face debt advise to their clients. Typically, when a client approaches Debt Free London they are in a state of emergency and potentially under the threat of being made homeless; therefore human interaction is critical as a part of their support.

Debt Free London

  • In the first three months of launching RACE, the Debt Free London team has had over 15,000 conversations, allowing us to pivot from our face-to-face service during the Covid pandemic quickly.
  • Working closely with City Hall and the Mayor of London, we have quickly extended our service to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to meet the increasing demand from our clients better, using Flex.
  • Having Flex recorded all conversations has increased our trainee and advisor’s understanding of our clients and provides great opportunities for coaching and feedback.
  • Flex allows us to have a central phone number for all 19 charitable partners that we work alongside.
A sky view of London city

What were the problems?

When Covid 19 hit, the UK and the government announced that the entire country was forced to go into lockdown, resulting in Debt Free London having to close their advice centres overnight. Their challenge was to find a solution that would enable them to continue to support their client group using technology to compensate for the lack of direct contact.

This requirement was made harder due to the involvement of 21 partner organisations with no consistent IT infrastructure and no single point of access. Some organisations were using webchat, whilst others were utilising WhatsApp via a personal number. Initially, Debt Free London required finding a platform that would give them a single access point with no local IT dependencies and support for home workers due to lockdown.

Why were Ciptex chosen to help?

Debt Free London chose RACE, from Ciptex, as it offered a 10-minute deployment timeframe and a trustworthy cloud platform. It also required no local software or infrastructure other than internet access. Another major factor was its support for all the communication channels in use across the partner organisations, plus the ability to deliver video chat and video kiosk solutions. The addition of video technology benefitted the organisation immensely, enabling them to continue to provide a personal, virtual face-to-face service to their clients.

The clincher for the deal was RACE’s had a small set up cost and consumption-based charging structure. In the words of Matt Dronfield, CEO of Debt Free London, “It’s a no brainer; we have nothing to lose.”

The Solution.

Since 2006, Ciptex has been creating and aggregating cloud technologies to deliver secure, resilient and innovative contact centre and telephony solutions. We have successfully deployed projects across the UK, Europe, North and South America, and Africa, with clients ranging from SME’s to Central Government and NASDAQ.

RACE is a rapid deployment solution that can be set up in minutes. It addresses the challenges of deploying agents to work from home. It can support traditional voice and newer digital channels of communication, including native web chat, video chat, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, alongside Email and SMS. RACE is a true SaaS solution which is fully elastic and highly resilient, supported across multiple AWS locations worldwide (including London where we can home the call recording data).

The solution provides Debt Free London with a centralised command and control facility to distribute all communication types to any authorised endpoint with secure access to the internet. There was no requirement for specialist equipment or applications for advisors.

Ciptex could leverage single sign on using Azure Active Directory to keep things simple and secure for their advisors. The solution seamlessly integrates with Active Pro (Debt Free London’s third party CRM application), to present advisors with the client’s details if they were already known. The result of this has improved the client experience, reducing time on mundane tasks for the advisors.

The platform has an easy-to-use interface that allows the agent to instantly launch a direct video call with their client by sending them a link (no Apps required). iPads have been implemented across Debt Free London advice centres throughout London as Kiosks to allow clients to attend the advice centre in person and host video discussions with remote agents.

Ciptex’s solution provides a comprehensive range of real-time and historical reports with the ability to produce bespoke views both in the package and via an export into 3rd party applications such as Power BI. Supervisors can monitor conversations in real-time if required, and the solution automatically records all voice calls which are stored in AWS with secure permissions-based access. The solution also includes Quality Evaluation application, which enables communications to be analysed, scored against templates, and then benchmarked to provide real-time feedback. This further improves advisor performance and client experience.

What were the benefits?

Debt Free London could deploy a single point access solution across the organisation within a couple of days. This resolved the challenges of moving their support agents to a home working environment within the short time scale.

Most of Debt Free London’s 55 advice centres across London were from 10 am – 5 pm, Monday to Friday, while some would open for only a few hours a week. Deploying RACE has enabled them to extend their opening times and accessibility, providing even more support coverage.

RACE has provided the team with the best technology to create a modern, digital contact centre. As a result, Debt Free London have recently recruited an additional 60 advisors to help reach their goal of providing an outstanding around the clock virtual face to face support to the community.

RACE is a fully managed contact centre that has reduced IT dependency, ensuring ongoing success with a reliable and secure platform. The services are flexible which allowed Debt Free London to scale up and down the number of support agents during the uncertain time of COVID-19. Charged on actual consumption basis, this meant they only pay for what they need when they need it.

About Ciptex

Ciptex design, build and manage bespoke communication platforms for organisations that want to provide a leading-edge customer engagement experience. We are a Gold partner of Twilio, the world’s leading programmable communications technology vendor. With vertical specialisms in not-for-profit, government and financial institutions and experience across Europe, America, and Africa, Ciptex is rapidly becoming a significant supplier of custom-built customer engagement solutions to organisations across the globe.