Three steps to the Consumer Duty starting line
The British public is currently facing a perfect storm of inflation, price increases and fuel
The British public is currently facing a perfect storm of inflation, price increases and fuel shortages that are putting more consumers than ever at real risk of financial difficulties. And it seems like every day, we’re presented with new and concerning figures painting a bleak forecast of the months ahead.
But with all this concerning economic news coming thick and fast, it’s all too easy to lose sight of the real-life implications of the spiralling cost of living we’re experiencing – and exactly how these compounding factors are working to push a growing number of consumers into dire financial straits.
So, first and foremost, why is financial vulnerability on the rise?
Why are consumers struggling?
It’s no secret this year has been one of the toughest in living memory for UK consumers. The sharp and sustained increases in food, energy and petrol prices have been felt by almost everyone – and the unfortunate reality is wage increases have largely been unable to close the widening chasm between the public’s earnings and outgoings.
September’s ONS research found the overwhelming majority (91%) of British adults have reported an increase in their living costs compared with this time last year. And more specifically, data suggests that two in five (44%) energy bill payers, and more than a quarter (28%) of those responsible for mortgage or rent payments, are now finding it ‘very or somewhat’ difficult to meet their regular financial obligations.
With this in mind, it’s no surprise that many businesses are now gearing up for an influx of calls from customers reaching breaking point as temperatures drop colder into winter.
How will this affect debtor firms?
Despite the Government’s pledge to tackle the cost-of-living challenges in the run-up to the new year, it’s inevitable that financial services firms will see an uptick in the number of at-risk customers seeking help with a credit card, mortgage and/or loan payments in the weeks ahead.
As any experienced call handler will tell you, it’s critical these types of enquiries are handled by experienced staff able to interact with at-risk individuals with the compassion, respect and patience they deserve.
And this means firms should be acting now to sure up their resources and refresh their training to ensure their call-handling departments have the capacity – as well as the expertise – to give the quality of service vulnerable customers need to help them through what comes next.
What can we do to help?
With the economic situation declining by the week, confirming your team is equipped to meet the latest challenges can seem like a daunting task.
With TCC Specialist Resourcing, you’ll have access to more than 5,000 highly qualified and pre-vetted financial services professionals. And so whether you’re looking to draft in a whole new call handling team or simply augment your current personnel with extra pairs of capable hands, we can help source, recruit and train the right resource for the job – as soon as you need it, for as long as they’re required.
And not only that: our experienced team of ex-regulators have more than 20 years of experience working with collections and recoveries firms. We understand the complexities of consumer vulnerability and what it takes to achieve consistently good outcomes for customers.
Learn more about how high-quality skilled resource could help you deliver your compliance projects more quickly and efficiently with our exclusive new eBook.