Sigma Connected to provide award-winning ReachOut service to Nationwide members

Business process outsourcer Sigma Connected has agreed a deal with Nationwide Building Society to provide its award-winning ReachOut service to the building society’s members.

The agreement, which is the first Sigma Connected has signed with a bank or building society, will see the company’s ReachOut team (called ‘pathfinders’) engaging with Nationwide members who have become unresponsive to customer contact initiatives, and are in arrears with payments, with a view to understanding their situation and then guiding them towards charities that support financial, mental and physical wellbeing, ultimately connecting them back to the support that Nationwide offers its members.

The new agreement follows a successful trial which saw Sigma Connected and Nationwide help over 100 members through ReachOut to clear their debt and mortgage arrears.  Over 40% of those members were also signposted to specialist charities for further support.

Gary Gilburd, CEO of Sigma Connected added: “ReachOut has been a hugely successful and impactful service since we launched it in 2020 and it’s now helping thousands of people every month.

“To partner with Nationwide is another important milestone and we look forward to supporting their members to make a real and lasting difference.  More than anything, ReachOut is all about engaging with and really listening to people in vulnerable circumstances and those in debt.  Our Pathfinders work hard to understand why customers are finding their bills difficult to manage, and then signpost them to the best possible financial, emotional and wellbeing support, also guiding them back to Nationwide’s own teams.”

Jasper Davy, Director of Support at Nationwide Building Society said:  – “Many people are finding life increasingly difficult especially given the current cost of living pressures coming from all directions.  As a responsible lender, we need to do what we can to help ease the burden, making the conditions better for people to feel able to make repayments.

“As a mutual, owned by and for the benefit of its members, working with ReachOut is a natural fit. It follows our progressive work in making it easier for our members to seek the help they need in managing their finances. The results of the pilot have been really encouraging, leading us to adopt the service as one of the ways we can help those who are struggling the most.”

In September last year Sigma Connected won the CSA 2021 Innovation Award for ReachOut and in November ReachOut also won the Best Vulnerable Customer Support category at the Credit Strategy U&T Awards.  So far 12 leading utility and financial service clients are working with ReachOut which aims to help people find a pathway to better manage their debts and their wellbeing by guiding them towards free advice and support.

Sigma Connected launched ReachOut to address the dual challenge of low engagement with those experiencing problem debt and low awareness of available support.  Where clients are unable to contact their customers with debts, Sigma Connected reaches out, takes time to understand challenges and makes customers aware of the support available through charities and the client themselves.

For further information about ReachOut, readers can visit www.sigmaconnected.com/au/reachout