Text Message Server Replaces Paper ‘Council Tax Due’ Reminders

Avanquest’s SMS Solution, Text Message Server saves valuable time at Babergh District Council and cuts the cost of communicating. Text Message Server is being used in a number of different departments, each project designed to improve both internal and external communication and reduce costs.

The Council, which is based in Hadleigh, Suffolk, has recognised SMS as workable alternative for activities such as posting out printed reminders to residents for council tax due and booking building inspection appointments, to delivering local election results to members of the press.

Bob Southgate, Babergh’s Head of Customer Services, said: “Text messaging is an effective and modern way of communicating. Most people have a mobile phone and it is no longer a gimmick but a real help in a busy world. By launching this system, Babergh is hoping to communicate with even more of its customers, while keeping the traditional methods open, to allow for greater access to our services.”

Reporting quantifiable savings on the council tax reminder project, Bob comments, “Text messages are more instantaneous and allow a greater flexibility for the person receiving them. The potential for numerous worker hours saved is enormous, coupled with money savings – the cost of a second class stamp is 24p, a text charge is 6p.”

Developed by Avanquest, Text Message Server is a fully-featured inbound and outbound communications solution. Text messages can be created, sent and received from within any email client and third party software such as CRM, ERP and Web, with enterprise reports and developers tools kits.

The software is easy to install and simple to use. It was quickly embraced by council personnel and recipients, plus it meets all up to date regulatory compliance initiatives.

Plans are also under way to use SMS technology for Emergency Planning processes. “Texting is quick and accurate, plus it gives us a complete audit trail, essential for this scenario” said Bob Southgate.

“Plus, we plan to use SMS to empower our ‘Litter Champions’ across the 76 parishes that make up the district” said Bob. “These Champions will use text messaging as the preferred method to report fly-tipping, abandoned vehicles, graffiti etc to the relevant departments, which means damage, will be able to be assessed and action decisions made before visiting the site”.