Citizen Housing Group

CFH Solution Helps Drive Engagement with 60,000 residents

Housing association transforms their communication with both hybrid mail and a managed service solution, to improve communication processes and engage with residents.

Based in the West Midlands, Citizen offers social housing and shared ownership properties and supports community projects for its residents. 

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60,000 residents
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Expert support
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Quality service
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300,000+ letters
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390 Hybrid users

The brief

Committed to making a real difference in their community, the group focus on positively engaging with its 60,000 residents whilst maintaining a social and economic outlook on the services they provide.

Due to their audience size and demographic, they communicate regularly via both post and email to keep residents up to date and to meet their legal obligations.

Wanting to consolidate all communication products and services to one supplier, in 2020 the group entered a new tender process to seek a single provider for their resident communications.

The new provider needed to be innovative, technology-driven, have a positive attitude to improvement whilst being secure and relationship-driven to help reach their targets.

They also need to be flexible in their approach to communications, offering the group the ability to send both bulk and single communications in line with department requirements.

The solution

After a lengthy process, including presentations, CFH Docmail Limited was awarded the contract as the provider of choice. CFH were not the incumbent provider but had innovative solutions and values that met Citizen’s requirements.

To manage the group’s communication requirements effectively, CFH offered a combination of both managed and hybrid mail solutions and it was decided it would be the perfect fit. Together these solutions would accommodate the requirement of bulk annual mailings, ad-hoc department mailings and provide the housing association with an alternative way of sending important communications.

Docmail Print Driver

What are managed communications? This offers a secure way of managing and sending bulk communications, with the benefit of guidance from dedicated support. It’s reliable, cost-effective and offers secure communications that help drive business growth and the meeting of goals. This solution is known as CFH Managed.

What is hybrid mail? This solution provides a secure, fast online method of producing, managing and sending personalised documents, without having to leave your desk. Perfect for sending individual and bulk communications, multiple users and department structure set-up, it’s a flexible way of engaging via post. The solution is known as CFH Docmail.

The onboarding of the two solutions were seamless, with CFH providing dedicated support every step of the way to ensure the communication solutions were compatible with existing processes and worked for them.

The process

Whilst working independently the two solutions work in partnership to meet Citizen’s requirements by splitting their communication processes into two – one for bulk annual communications and one for everyday communication requirements.

CFH Managed: Through a secure set-up, a dedicated account manager and a relationship-driven approach, an agreed SLA was set for the sending of their bulk communications. The bulk communication requirement consisted of their yearly annual rent increase statements; these are legally required to be delivered within a certain time frame.

The annual rent mailing for the organisation consists of sending 44,093 documents.

To do this Citizen supplies CFH a data file and template document through a secure SFTP connection, CFH then securely process this through their digital print production facility. CFH supply both a digital and physical print for proofing for approval before the mailing is printed, enclosed, and dispatched for delivery by Royal Mail.

This whole process is managed by a dedicated account manager who ensures the mailing is produced without errors and is dispatched on time. They are also on hand to answer any questions and provide support throughout the whole process.

Using this communication solution to send the annual rent increase mailing enables Citizen to meet their agreed SLA requirements and to engage effectively with their residents in a timely manner, even if there are last-minute changes to the final document.

The solution has completely streamlined the process, whilst maintaining the quality and compliance expectations of Citizen.

CFH Docmail: After initial analysis and support from the customer support team the Citizen account was set up in line with their organisational structure. This meant that department spend on communication could be tracked, approved templates used and user access controlled.  The set-up included a total of 20 directorates (areas of the business), 82 teams (the departments) and a total of 390 users (the employees using the account). Each user has a unique login, and account restrictions set for their individual requirements.

As a part of the onboarding process 'train the trainer' sessions were provided to Citizen employees, so that they can learn how the system operates, have an overview of how the mailing process works and ask any questions about the system. Following this, the trained users were able to support their colleagues with the reassurance that there was a CFH support team available to assist with the creation of mailings and provide further support when required.

With its flexible approach Docmail hybrid mail allows each department to send their everyday, ad-hoc and small bulk mailings through a secure online system. The user simply logs into their account, creates the mailing by uploading a document or choosing an approved template from the built-in library, uploads their data, approves the proof and submits the order. The orders are then dispatched the next working day if submitted before 5pm on a normal working day.

The communications Citizen Send through this solution include financial documentation such as debt collection, court notices and anti-social behaviour warnings as well as everyday general communications.

The process of sending these types of communications could not be simpler.

At present CFH Docmail has been used to send over 90,000 mailings and the account exceeds the communication requirements of the company.

The results

The transition from the incumbent supplier to CFH has been seamless. Every step of the way CFH were on hand providing a proactive and supporting approach, meeting communication requirements, and ensuring compliance for the new processes.

Citizen has not only been able to positively engage with their residents, but the two solutions implemented were cost-effective, secure and provided an efficient way of producing communications. Citizen and CFH have become partners in delivering communications and solving problems together. Both companies are driven by the same values, strengthening their partnership further.

In addition, the new processes have freed up employee time, so that staff could concentrate on higher-value tasks for the company, helping support the other objectives.

CFH go above and beyond supporting communications helping Citizen in the creation and licensing of their own BRE (business reply envelope) to further support the communications they send.

Together the companies are a perfect fit for producing communications that drive responses.

Using CFH Docmail has been a great way of improving our communication with customers at Citizen.

It is quick and easy to use and the fact we use both managed and hybrid mail solutions means we can effectively send messages to our customers when we need to.

Using this software means our colleagues can arrange for communication to be sent out efficiently meaning they can use their time on other tasks, so it’s great to work with CFH Docmail and the benefits it brings.

Shane Murphy, Head of Information Governance and Cyber,
Citizen Housing

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