New signposting service to support vulnerable customers

National Support Network’s directory of national services, Support Hub, has been added by the FCA to the Digital Sandbox and promoted in the FCA Consumer Duty TechSprint. Its ease of use, quality and scope was also praised in a recent Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) publication as a solution to enhance customer journeys and support vulnerable customers.

Engaging with a customer who is experiencing the loss of a car, their health, facing problems such as bereavement or redundancy or marking a major turning point in their lives such as becoming a parent can become key moments in which banks or insurers can make a difference to that customer’s wellbeing and resilience. The challenge, of course, is in how to support that customer in a way that is comprehensive and consistent.

National Support Network (NSN) equips organisations with the tools to refer customers to external support services, including charity helplines across 1,000 problem areas. Another unique aspect are the new insights on the challenges facing customers, which can then help firms develop more targeted customer wellbeing and communication strategies.

Co-Founder and CEO, Cat Divers explains:

“Following a background as a chartered insurance professional, I struggled to find support for myself and others. These personal experiences led me to start this initiative to help others facing similar struggles.

Our focus is on making it easy for organisations to refer those in need to specialist support by providing high-quality information. We reduce the noise and streamline referrals by hosting the UK’s largest vetted and independent directory of services.”

Support Hub is one-of-a-kind and can easily be integrated with existing customer platforms and processes through API, iFrame, portal and other offerings. Whereas existing signposting resources can quickly become outdated, or do not offer as much scope, the NSN Directory is continually updated, in recognition of the continually changing support landscape.

Offering a valuable extension to wellbeing strategies and toolkits for both customers and staff, NSNs innovative specialist signposting services can help direct people to charities or third parties who can provide relevant support without risking advisers overstepping their training.

11.8 million people in the UK struggle to find support when facing personal life challenges. Of these, two in five will delay or give up looking (Censuswide, 2020). This is a long-standing issue spanning many areas such as money, health and housing problems. Without finding support at the earliest opportunity, problems are likely to worsen and give rise to yet further problems.

Frontline staff often interact with customers who present multiple requirements and problems. The frequency of these more complex interactions is on the rise as customers grapple with one crisis after another. While specialist teams can support vulnerable customers, many advisers do not have adequate resources to refer customers to trusted support across the variety of problems that can arise.

Customers are facing more varied and complex problems, and the fintech sector is well placed to look for innovative ways in which they can better support their customers in need through these difficult times. As an independent and reliable source for information on external services, the NSN Directory can quickly become an important part of a customer advisor's toolkit.

National Support Network is a not-for-profit social enterprise.

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