In previous blogs relating to vulnerable customer programmes the author has discussed the alignment of the organisation’s culture with that of the needs of potential vulnerable customers. 

A culture assessment or audit is a good place to start and will allow top management to understand the current drivers that propel the business.

If all sales staff are focussed upon targets no matter what the situation, then further down the line complaints are likely to occur through miss-selling etc.

The CEO of the organisation should then set about creating a set of sales related policies and procedures that establish good practices. The FCA advocates treating customer fairly with desirable outcomes for customers as a key feature.

Sales staff training should commence, and personnel should understand the needs and expectations of vulnerable customers. Training records should be maintained and updated on a periodic basis. This should also include any sub-contractors or commission-based agents.

Performance standards should be established and ideally linked to reward packages. It is wise for external agents to be subject to annual audits or a verification programme that ensures that appropriate standards are maintained.

Codes of conduct should be made available for permanent members of staff and agents. These should be strictly enforced through regular audit.

Contact with customers especially those who might be vulnerable must never be made outside normal working hours. I.e. early morning or late in the evening. Such contact can be highly unwelcome and stressing for all groups of customers.

Sales staff should be trained never to exploit a situation with a vulnerable customer to their advantage.

Records should be carefully maintained of all contact with customer groups and outcomes identified.

By adopting BS18477 the British Standard for service provision a business can be assured that it has sought to align with the premier Standard for handling vulnerable customers. In addition, BS18477 can be assessed by BSI a leading UK certification body.

For further information and to book your BS18477 – Inclusive Service Provision survey please contact: Marcus J Allen at Thamer James Ltd. Email: marcus@thamerjames.co.uk

Marcus has twenty years’ experience in delivering Governance, Risk and Compliance solutions to over two hundred organisations within the UK. Marcus holds the respected Diploma in Governance, Risk and Compliance from the International Compliance Association and holds a master’s degree in Management Learning & Change from the University of Bristol.