Roundtable Discussion: Managing Vulnerable Customers in Challenging Times

Written on
byHayfa Bukhari

We partnered with the CCA to explore the impact Fair Treatment of Vulnerable Customers guidance is having on companies’ customer operations, quality assurance processes and staff training. We discussed how new innovations such as speech analytics can help companies better recognise, record and respond to it’s vulnerable customers and in doing so, ensure greater regulatory compliance.


We know that managing vulnerable customers, in particular improving the identification and treatment of them, is high on the agenda for many industries.  Regulatory bodies like the FCA and Ofgem have clear strategies on how they expect companies within their sector to address current customer vulnerability shortcomings. 


So we share with you the most discussed topics of the session.


Giving agents the tools, training and resources to succeed

We learnt that a high number of customers have a very low awareness of what resources are available. Understanding how third parties (e.g. Samaritans, Age UK, Dementia UK) can help vulnerable customers, the ability to refer customers onto them and having a carefully curated list of third parties to turn to will help to drive VC experience.

In order to empower agents to treat customers fairly, we heard from businesses who hold regular customer vulnerability workshops where colleagues can discuss their own vulnerabilities and experiences, hear guidance from experts, and simulate vulnerabilities to consider the accessibility that may be required.  The responsibility of managing vulnerable customers should not stop at the customer services department. Anyone in an organisation that designs change, products or services needs upskilling around designing vulnerability into everything.


Digital exclusion vs. digital literacy

Companies should ensure customers have a choice of channels to engage with a business through, and train staff to become ‘digital mentors’. Often the issue is not with those who are digitally excluded but those who aren’t digitally literate to complete a full journey through a certain channel. In offering flexibility, this will help customers in vulnerable situations find a means to get the support they need in a way that will benefit them.


A more integrated, cross-organisational approach

A major challenge for businesses is streamlining the process between passing a customer over from a contact centre to a 3rd party agency like the Samaritans. A customer might not want to recount their vulnerable situations multiple times but data protection makes it difficult to share sensitive information between organisations. 


This roundtable discussion was incredibly valuable in bringing key organisations together to share their main concerns. It demonstrated the common challenges businesses are facing when managing customer vulnerability and shared successes that could be implemented across the industry.

We look forward to continuing to raise awareness of these challenges and work with organisations to improve the way in  which we manage vulnerable customers. If you would like to learn more about what we do, visit our Aveni Detect page 

Thank you to everyone who joined us during the session with the CCA. If you would like to watch this session please visit the link below



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