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DM Trust funds training to help businesses better support vulnerable consumers

Half of all consumers could be vulnerable, but with just 4% of contact centre staff saying they know when they’re speaking with someone that’s potentially vulnerable, the DM Trust has committed its support to an important training programme to help

Today the DM Trust can reveal that it is investing an additional £30,000 to workshops that will help contact centre managers and trainers to understand the needs of vulnerable consumers and how to train and support their teams to do the same. Most organisations will have telephone conversations with people who find it difficult to make informed decisions about the choices offered to them – these practical workshops will offer advice on best practice and guidance on how to create a positive experience for consumers from a variety of backgrounds with differing needs.

A recent study by the Financial Conduct Authority found that 50% of UK consumers currently show one or more characteristics of potential vulnerability (25.6 million)1 – based on their health, financial resilience and capability, and on life events that could be having a detrimental impact on them. Research collated by the DMA’s Contact centre council found that only 4% of surveyed contact centre staff claim to know when they are speaking with a vulnerable consumer. Additionally, 92% said that training would help to better meet vulnerable customers’ needs2. Based on these findings, there are likely a significant number of consumers that are inadvertently mishandled by customer service representatives who don’t know how to identify if they are vulnerable or not.

Jacqui Crawley, Owner and Managing Director of KMB Telemarketing, and Co-Chair of the DMA’s Vulnerable Taskforce, stated: “The difficulty arises as customers’ circumstances are never static and they may be in a temporary or transitory state of vulnerability. Identifying this vulnerability and understanding how to adapt your approach to best assist them is of paramount importance to providing good customer service”.

The workshops are supported by the DMA and DM Trust, with the sessions run by ReynoldsBusbyLee Ltd, a consultancy specialising in customer experience and customer engagement, and KMB Ltd, an outsourced telemarketing agency. The funding from the DM Trust has helped to significantly reduce the fees charged to attendees for the sessions, helping organisations to provide their customers with a positive and transparent experience.

A further four workshops will be available through 2018, with each including practical elements and attendees will look at how to adapt training materials to suit different audiences within their own organisation. This allows them to return to work with a clear action plan for implementation. You can learn more about how these workshops can assist you and your organisation here - https://vimeo.com/256041404.

The DM Trust remains committed to creating a sustainable future for data-driven marketing, by distributing funds to support the best new talent coming into the industry and promoting fairness to consumers. Matthew Housden, Chairman of the DM Trust, said that “the mission of the DM Trust is to promote the value of responsible marketing and we need to make sure we have people in our industry to do that. By allocating funds to projects like this, we are able to provide customer-facing organisations with training and support to help them offer their vulnerable consumers a respectful and positive experience”.

Elaine Lee, Managing Director of ReynoldsBusbyLee Ltd, added: “The funding from the DM Trust has enabled us to build and update a comprehensive suite of training materials. It also means we can deliver four workshops through the year to any organisation – whether charity or commercial – that wants to improve its recognition of customers in vulnerable circumstances and the service delivered to all customers. The funding will also enable us to make a range of materials available to download free of charge from the DMA website.”

Lee continues: “Trust is integral to developing meaningful relationships between organisations and their customers. By considering the needs of your customers as unique individuals, you can deliver an enhanced customer experience and build real engagement that delivers loyalty and value to both parties.”

To find out more and register for upcoming workshops, please visit: https://dma.org.uk/article/masterclass-recognising-the-needs-of-vulnerable-consumers-and-how-to-make-reasonable-adjustments

The DM Trust remains open to applications and funds are available to groups or organisations with initiatives that raise the standards of the industry; either through nurturing talent or promoting responsible marketing best practice. To find out more about the DM Trust or to apply for a grant, please visit: www.dmtrust.org.uk

 

References:

1.FCA’s Financial lives survey 2017: https://www.fca.org.uk/publication/research/financial-lives-survey-2017.pdf

2.The DMA - White Paper: Guidelines for call centres dealing with vulnerable consumers 2013

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