Society is navigating the financial impact of the pandemic in a multitude of ways. With significant price rises in essential goods and services, the increase in complaints from the financially vulnerable are growing at a significant rate.
Whilst price increases in the communications industry are set to rise by a comparatively small percentage, when considering the impact of overall increases on the cost of living, this is not going to be an issue that is felt by a sole sector. Where consumers are struggling financially, it affects all businesses from whom they purchase products or services.
Given the expected influx of issues needing to be resolved for these consumers, we are looking carefully at how organisations can better support consumers and colleagues.
Taking individual consumer circumstances into account, can sometimes require deviating from standard process. The difficulties of determining how much, and what kind of support a particular consumer needs can lead to questions of who is more deserving of support and why.
It’s clear that consumers need help with short term solutions, but we also need to be considering how we might look after them in the longer term. Perhaps assisting consumers in assessing what they can afford in order to reduce their debt is one way of improving things in the longer term.
There is no doubt that colleagues providing additional support to consumers, have an increased need for support themselves. It’s important for them to feel heard and understood, equipped and empowered to navigate difficult, and sometimes distressing calls.
There are various methods of providing colleague support available, including use of ‘wellbeing’ portals, mental health first aiders and creating working groups. We’ll be exploring some of these at our next Communications Supplier Liaison Panel on 6th April.