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Black Friday Shopping: Supporting Vulnerable Customers

Black Friday Shopping: Supporting Vulnerable Customers

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Related: Detect Vulnerability

Black Friday Shopping: Supporting Vulnerable Customers

Nov 23, 2021

Alex Lowery
Coffee shop

The seasonal spending spree that is Black Friday and Cyber Monday is looming, with UK consumers alone expected to spend £4.8 billion across the long weekend. While for some this represents a perfect opportunity to grab some bargains, for others, it’s the perfect opportunity to overspend.

The availability of ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ (BNPL) products, the use of which almost quadrupled in 2020, reaching a huge £2.7 billion, can be an enabler of this overspend, with the emergence of unregulated BNPL products not going unnoticed either, particularly by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) with its focus on responsible lending. For vulnerable customers in particular, the perfect storm of a global pandemic, readily-available BNPL products and the Black Friday weekend is set to pave the way for further vulnerability.

All this will potentially lead to an increase in complaints for financial services organisations from already vulnerable or newly vulnerable customers, unsatisfied with products and/or services. With the onus very much on financial services institutions to safeguard vulnerable customers, ensuring their fair treatment at every stage of the customer journey, what can your business do to help your vulnerable customers?

Identifying Vulnerability

Key to treating vulnerable customers fairly is identifying their vulnerability from the outset. These might be customers with a long-standing but as yet unidentified vulnerability, newly vulnerable customers or customers who are loath to identify themselves as vulnerable. Empowering frontline complaint teams to identify customer vulnerability is crucial, highlighting verbal cues or certain patterns in behaviour that can signal vulnerability. Additionally, the technology is available to take this one step further, with vulnerability detection technology embedded in complaint management systems, such as Aptean Respond, helping to ensure vulnerable customers don’t slip through the net.

Once you’ve identified vulnerability, training is key to make sure your complaint handlers are well-versed in how to deal with complaints from vulnerable customers, underpinning their ongoing fair treatment. Technology, again, can boost this capability further still, with intelligent workflows in place to signpost the next best course of action for the particular complaint. That’s not to say that one-size-fits-all, with the right technology able to take into account the nuances of a specific complaint and customer to ensure best practice follows in what happens next. Not only does this support the fair treatment of your customers, it’s more likely to result in a resolution that satisfies both the customer and your business.

Continuous Improvement

When it comes to helping your vulnerable customers in the long-term, the insight that can be derived from your complaints data is crucial too. You can use your complaints data to identify complaint patterns and trends, be that seasonal variations or complaints specific to certain products and services, looking at what changes are needed to further safeguard your vulnerable customers. It’s the same with customer feedback. Applying contextualised feedback from your vulnerable customers enables your business to see what it could do better, not only in terms of how it treats its vulnerable customers but how it can help to prevent harm to these customers in the first place.

Ultimately, the issue of customer vulnerability can be the driver for not only complaint handling improvements but overall business improvements. A customer-centric approach to complaints management, treating each case individually, taking into account the specific circumstances surrounding each complaint and complainant will ensure the fair treatment of all customers. At the same time, it can help you to develop your products and services to best cater for the needs of all customers, including those in a more vulnerable situation, underpinning responsible business practices and safeguarding those who need it most.

For more information on how our complaint management system, Aptean Respond, can empower your business to treat all customers fairly, contact us today.

Putting FCA Guidance into Practice

This eBook provides detailed instructions on how FCA guidance can and should be applied when supporting customer vulnerability.

Tell us about yourself and an Aptean specialist will be in touch.