In the second of a series of short blogs, aimed at helping organisations to improve identifying, supporting and assisting vulnerable customers, we take a look at how you can support vulnerable customers and how to best manage the process internally.
- Once identified a vulnerable customer should be removed from mainstream sales/marketing and collections activity
It is important that a customer identified as being in vulnerable circumstances is ‘flagged’ as such so they are excluded from mainstream activity, especially in relation to sales/marketing and collections actions. This will provide you with an organisational memory of the customer without the need to explain the situation to different areas of your business. Care needs to be taken with the level of information shared internally and explicit customer consent obtained where possible.
- Specialist teams should be in place to speak with the consumer
Customers should be handled by specialist teams with the expertise to engage with the customer. They must understand the need for flexibility and have authority around terms and conditions to address the needs of the customer, (for example, through payment holidays, interest only periods, debt re-structuring, etc). Discussions should always be through the customers preferred channel, and clear and concise information and explanations should always be provided.
- Appropriate external support, should be clearly signposted
Where available charities and agencies specialising in helping people in vulnerable circumstances should be identified where help and advice is required over and above what can be provided by your organisation.
It is recommend that you gain feedback to help with improvement of your policies and processes, and to understand the way they are being interpreted and implemented within your business. This should be both qualitative and quantitative in nature and supported with regular reviews into customer contacts, management of cases, and outcomes.