As the Cheque and Credit Clearing Company approached the start of the roll-out of the new cheque imaging process at the end of October, talking, and more importantly, listening, to our multitude of stakeholders was never more important and relevant.

That is why the regular contact we have with the people, businesses, charities and public sector bodies that use cheques, through the cheque user forums is a fundamental part of our ongoing communications plan.

Over the past few years, we have held a number of forums advising on many topical issues surrounding cheques.  We find that they give us a really fantastic opportunity to   engage with our large stakeholder base.

So, when the initial plans for cheque imaging were drawn up back in 2014, it was a logical step that we used these forums as a vehicle to see what our “customers” (even though they are the customers of banks and building societies) really wanted from the new process. 

Each year millions of people up and down the UK use cheques – in 2016, 477 million cheques were written by consumers, businesses and charities alike. It was vital that we spoke to our customers so that they could influence how the new system was designed and, more importantly, how it would be implemented. Ensuring that we always had the needs of the end-user firmly at the centre of our thinking was a fundamental part of our communications plan.

The forums also provide a great platform for us to present our new market research.  It is always fascinating to see that cheques are still an  important part of the payments landscape. Cheques are viewed as being a safe and reliable way of making payments and it is important that this remains the case now that the new cheque imaging process is being rolled out.  This feedback came through loud and clear from all our stakeholders.

Similarly, every time we carry out market research, we learn more about the many ways that cheque payments are enhancing almost every industry sector in the UK and we are proud that we can continue to help keep cheques a relevant payment method.

The London cheque user forum kicked off the 2017 forum season on 8th June, to delegates from a range of businesses, public sector bodies, charities, and SMEs. It was great to see so many delegates attend as they learnt more about ‘Bringing the Cheque into the Digital Age.’ Highlights from this event can be viewed here.

We then hosted a number of further cheque user forums in major cities across the UK to help inform even more of our stakeholders about the new, innovative cheque imaging system: Leeds, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Belfast all saw us visiting them, and whilst themes emerged in terms of questions, each one brought out new angles too. Highlights from our Cheque User Forums can be viewed here.

As the measured roll-out of the new system progresses we are taking every opportunity to inform our customers about what the new system involves, how it will impact them and what they need to do to get ready.  

Only by listening to the thoughts of our customers can we make our industry better – this way of thinking is fundamental to what we try and do here at the C&CCC.