How financial institutions can help customers dealing with money problems

Recent global events have led to increased financial pressure on the public. The cost of living has risen around the world, including in the UK, EU, and Australia. Inflated costs, in addition to ongoing supply chain issues related to the current Ukrainian conflict, are increasing the number of financially vulnerable people. 

Financial institutions can play a critical role in alleviating the money problems of  the general public. As financial experts, they can offer valuable advice to customers, shed light on uncertain topics and decrease the stress of certain situations. The time to help is now, so financial institutions should not wait. 

This article will discuss what financial institutions can do to support their customers through these challenging times, and why a flexible workforce is a vital part of providing this support.

Why it’s important to support the financially unstable

 The current cost of living crisis is an opportunity for financial institutions to use their skill set to help their customer base., Alongside the moral reasons for offering support, financial services should consider the recent changes to regulation that reinforce their legal responsibility to help their customers.  

In the UK, the FCA is introducing a new Customer Duty regulation to ensure better customer protection when using financial services. The FCA aims to prevent unclear financial advice or counsel prioritising profits with these regulations. Instead, financial institutions must put the customer first to guide them toward stronger financial decisions. 

Ultimately, these regulations require financial institutions to empower their customers to reduce the risk of financial struggle. Though the current economic climate makes money problems inevitable for some, the FCA’s guidelines protect customers. They ensure that financial institutions are obliged to help, and reduce the risk of institutions inadvertently adding to existing issues. 

As more people begin dealing with money problems, the FCA regulations will encourage UK financial institutions to consider what more they can do for customers. Banks often provide blogs on saving money, but read on to discover a few more personal and effective ways to support the financially unstable through human-first customer service.

How financial institutions can support customers dealing with money problems

 Financial institutions can use extensive financial knowledge to attempt to guide their customers towards getting their accounts in order. But supporting financially unstable customers takes more than posting advice online. Customers may need to speak to people directly who can offer advice. In other words, a human connection is as essential as providing digital solutions. 

The stress of dealing with money problems means they’re inextricably linked to mental health issues. It’s important for financial institutions to consider the person behind the finances when providing assistance. Human connection is essential when people feel vulnerable as it can help them feel less isolated and provide a path forward. 

Still, as more people’s finances are impacted and call volumes spike, banks can struggle to provide scalable customer services for several reasons, including:

  • The competitive recruitment market: high demand for labour has made recruitment a challenge for 46% of UK employers, resulting in decreased employee availability and retention as turnover has increased by 41%. As a result, there are fewer in-house representatives, reducing bandwidth. 
  • A lack of internal resources: financial institutions may not have the resources or investment to recruit, especially with other financial operations to focus on in the current worldwide economic state. 
  • The challenge of finding qualified representatives: Even if there was a vast availability of workers, staffing a customer service team is not simple. Institutions need capable and experienced representatives to discuss financial matters with vulnerable customers. 

That leaves one question: how can financial institutions scale-up customer service departments to maximum effect in record time? It comes down to a shift of approach towards external options.

 Scaling-up human connection for financially unstable customers

 Since many financial institutions struggle to offer efficient and beneficial support to their customers, they are turning to customer service experts. Companies specialising in customer support and complaint handling can emphasise the human aspect of customer service for customers dealing with money problems. 

Customer service can use outsourcing or offshoring to bypass the challenge of recruitment. Rather than finding candidates themselves, financial institutions can rely on an outsourcing partner to provide highly-trained staff with experience in financial support. Teams can increase customer service personnel as needed, and scale down when the immediate crisis passes without taking on permanent staff.  

With this solution, financial institutions can handle increasing call volumes and trust the representatives to handle complex situations and processes while offering valuable and expert advice. When it comes down to it, it’s beneficial to provide customers with a human voice, especially one that’s experienced in helping vulnerable customers.

Help customers dealing with money problems by increasing staff at low risk

The more qualified representatives that financial institutions have available, the better these institutions can meet growing customer service needs and help people with money problems. 

Outsourcing allows companies  to scale, so they can satisfy and support customers without a long term staff investment. It’s a cost-effective option compared to hiring in-house and allows institutions to access customer service experts who can effectively handle sensitive situations

As each customer walks away feeling better, financial institutions know they’ve provided valuable support through a flexible workforce solution. Plus, financial institutions won’t need to spend valuable time recruiting capable representatives so they can focus on helping customers. 

Outsourcing options like Sigma Connected are designed to alleviate these demands by helping companies better assist their customers. 

Reach more customers in need with Sigma Connected

Here at Sigma Connected, we believe in supporting people first. That’s why we help financial institutions scale up their personable interactions with customers —  a human touch can make all the difference. 

Partnering with Sigma means accessing motivated experts in vulnerable customer management without the struggle of in-house training and competitive external recruitment. We offer services like ReachOut that are specifically developed to support vulnerable customers through debt management.

Click here to contact us today and learn more about how we can help financial institutions reach more customers in need.