AI Would Agree: ‘Being Vulnerable’ with Vulnerable CX Coach Carolyn Delehanty

We chat with a vulnerable customer expert to get top tips on identifying vulnerability, coaching agents, and the best tools to help

How you can ensure vulnerable customers are given the support they need in contact centres

AI Would Agree is TMAC’s weekly webinar hosted by our Senior Solutions Consultant, Paul Banks. We bring in guests from across the contact centre and software industry to discuss their experiences and opinions on the current hot topics.

In this episode, we were joined by Vulnerable CX Coach Carolyn Delahanty of Delehanty Consulting to discuss who vulnerable customers are, what a Vulnerable CX Coach does, and the steps that are taken to ensure lasting positive change in contact centres.

But first, who is classified as a vulnerable customer?

As described by the FCA: “A vulnerable customer is someone who, due to their personal circumstances, is especially susceptible to harm - particularly when a firm is not acting with appropriate levels of care. Our view of vulnerability is as a spectrum of risk.”

This description encompasses those that may have a disability (such as cognitive impairment), as well as those that are financially vulnerable wherein someone may unexpectedly have more outcome than income and find themselves struggling – a particularly relevant consideration to make when thinking of the rising energy prices in 2022.

People that have low resilience to cope with financial and/or emotional shocks and those that struggle with poor literacy or numeracy skills are classified as vulnerable customers. Also, those that may be dealing with drastic life changes be that medical, financial or housing, are likely to be considered vulnerable.

This means that 53% of adults display characteristics of vulnerability which is an increase of over 3 million people since February 2020, and many of these people exhibit multiple characteristics of vulnerability. This makes it more important than ever to ensure you’re providing the best care for customers.

Vulnerable CX Coaches: ‘Easy’ wins for your contact centres

A Vulnerable CX Coach is there to help companies understand the pain points in their vulnerable customer’s interactions and guide teams through designing and implementing inclusive improvements to the benefit of customers, colleagues and, of course, commercials. Here are some practical tips from a Vulnerable CX Coach:

Inclusive Design: Inclusive service design makes services easily accessible and usable by everyone, regardless of their circumstances. Think of how understandable your communications are, how are you making your vulnerable customers feel, and how easily a customer can get in touch with you if they have a query.

Coaching and Workshops: Through coaching, leaders set the strategic direction and learn to drive cross-functional teams through emotions focused CX sprints. Collaborative and interactive workshops are used to listen to vulnerable customer’s needs, understand their pain points and redesign them inspired by:

  • Their own ideas
  • Ideas from their competitors
  • Ideas from other industries

Continuous Strategic Assessments: The plethora of ideas generated means there’s always a robust roadmap of improvements and ensures that the company can continually improve their vulnerable customer experiences, even after initial coaching sessions.

At the end of the day, the CX coach aims to enable improvements to experiences that all customers, but especially the vulnerable customers, notice, appreciate and value. This in turn results in customers that feel appreciated and understood which leads to happy, loyal and advocating customers.

Carolyn’s 3 Cs: Customers, Colleagues, Commercial

Whilst improving the customer experience for vulnerable customers there still needs to be a focus on the business at large, so Carolyn uses her three Cs method.

‘Customer’ is the initial focus, for obvious reasons. This is making sure that the customer is satisfied and comfortable with their decisions and purchases – a step that is particularly important for vulnerable customers and can help others avoid becoming a vulnerable customer in the future.

‘Colleagues’ is about ensuring that any changes make life easier for colleagues and employees too. This ensures that the agents, or anyone else interacting with customers, are doing it in a way that is contributing towards evoking the desired emotions.

‘Commercial’ is to be certain that when all is said and done, the changes provide some sort of financial benefit to the company be it in savings, additional revenue generated, or the avoidance of compliance fines.

The idea here is that any changes made must fulfil all three C’s to be commercially sustainable for the company. By ensuring this, you’re more likely to make a bigger and more lasting positive impact on the company at large.

Tools to identify vulnerable customers

Technology can record and capture things that might be missed by the agent in the moment, so by using speech or text analytics we can save this information and have a window looking into which customers might be vulnerable.

Self-disclosure tools are a tremendous help in identifying vulnerable customers. It has been reported that 86% of people prefer talking to humans over robots when it comes to customer service, however when it comes to talking about a potentially emotional situation (in other words, being vulnerable), the inverse is often true.

Many customers are more willing to disclose their vulnerabilities to a machine rather than to another person as there is a higher perceived level of privacy there. And so, by allowing them this degree of privacy, it allows companies give them the right support that they need.

This article expanded on some of the key topics covered in ‘AI Would Agree: Being Vulnerable with Carolyn Delehanty’. If you missed the live episode and want to catch up, you can watch the full recording by clicking here.

About TMAC

At TMAC we want to make every customer conversation valuable, and we believe human to human interactions augmented with AI will provide the best experience. Win back control of your conversations and solve real problems with our three contact centre solutions (Listen, Act & Learn), that put your customers front and centre by helping you listen to them, act on their preference, and coach your teams to success.

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