Market View: How do businesses support vulnerable customers?

Market View: How do businesses support vulnerable customers?

Supporting vulnerable customers is not only the right thing to do, but as many businesses are discovering, it also has proven financial benefits. We take a look at what some of the biggest companies in the UK are doing and how we could learn from them.

Sainsbury’s

Angela Clayton-Turner rescued her husband from the men’s toilets "more than I care to remember" because living with dementia meant he found it difficult to find his way out.  

Thanks to customer stories, the supermarket is in the process of updating toilets to make them more accessible. This includes better signage (including ‘way out’), fittings (e.g. cubicles fitted with a shelf and hook for customers living with a stoma) and better lighting.

Sainsbury’s also played a big part in producing the Alzheimer’s Society Dementia-Friendly retail guide.

Asda

The supermarket trialled a ‘Quiet Hour’ back in 2016. They worked closely with charity and community groups and made small changes such as turning off the music and any bright lighting displays, and keeping noise to a minimum when re-stocking products.

During this hour they also have clearly visible, trained staff available on the shop floor. The trial’s initial aim was to improve the retail experience for people with autism, but it has clear benefits for everyone.

Nisa

Nisa shops (and other convenience stores) gather funding for local charities by selling MADL (Making a Difference Locally) associated products. The stores then find out what causes the community cares about, and donates to them.

Supporting the local community benefits both your business and customers, including vulnerable customers. By choosing causes that matter to local people, you can make a difference to those that need it most, and customers are more likely to choose your store over the competition.

British Gas

Over two thirds of the British Gas workforce have taken part in ‘Dementia Friends’ awareness sessions. This includes 10,000 engineers and thousands of staff in contact centres. ‘Dementia Friends’ is an initiative by Alzheimer’s Society to help raise awareness about dementia. Look out for videos on One in the next few weeks.

Monzo

The digital, mobile-only bank has a dedicated vulnerable customers’ team to make sure they understand and consider the needs of all customers, especially those who might be more likely to have problems with their money.

There are lots of ways to support vulnerable customers and even small changes can have a big impact on people’s lives. Over the coming weeks we’ll be looking at the difference it can make to your bottom line and how Postmasters are making a difference in their communities across the UK.

Got 5 minutes? Why not test your knowledge to see how well you know your customers?

Let us know how you’ve been supporting vulnerable customers in your community – sign in to leave a comment below or email one@postoffice.co.uk

And if you have any suggestions about how Post Office can better assist vulnerable customers please email Mo at the Vulnerable Customer Action Group team Mohammed.kamaly@postoffice.co.uk