Earlier this month Prime Minister Theresa May announced the measures she plans on implementing in order to better support mental health issues nationwide. This spans workplaces and schools – and intends on reducing stigma surrounding mental illness.
Leading the review is former banking executive Dennis Stephenson. Also interesting is how the plans will incorporate digital mental health services – a step change most organisations are currently embedding and a replication of how society is developing in its approach to daily management.
In her statement, Theresa May said: “In every classroom in the country there are probably about three children with a diagnosable mental health condition and only help [for] about a quarter of them. That is a massive worry.” With school children of today, being your customers of tomorrow (and possibly already having custom with you through child, or parent linked accounts), it is important to support society prospectively – and your brand can play a big part in this.
Playing your part in society
Some banks in particular have already made pledges and headway in supporting their customers – and installing a series of training programmes for customer facing employees who can detect and better support their customers with mental health issues. And with 427 million transactions made in branch last year, (and 236 million predicted for 2020), according to the British Bankers Association (BBA), there are a lot of people still reliant on in-branch services. Equally however as more and more of society moves to digital and maximises the availability of omni-channel contact, being able to determine a situation, or understand a customer through multi-channel is equally important. Phone, email – all can be understood better in order to give an enhanced situational and behavioural analysis for you to tailor and utilise across your customer contact strategies.
Money fuels worry
Money is a sensitive topic and a new survey by the comparison website Moneysupermarket.com suggests that money worries are the main cause of stress for a fifth of people. Financial anxiety can lead them to feel panicky, overwhelmed, disappointed, exhausted and embarrassed. This research confirms that financial services companies need to ensure they understand the issue so they can better support people and help ensure they stay both financially and mentally healthy.
Instilling inclusivity into every day
In addition to spotting mental health issues, enabling the provision of inclusive tools such as pin-less bank cards can support where memorizing a pin is a challenge. Some supermarkets now offer slow moving pay points. Specialist support teams can adapt processes and communications accordingly and become a support network to its customers when a situation for need is identified. It can be simple changes such as understanding a person’s preferences for contact and tailoring your contact strategies according to them.
Keep it simple
This is just another example of how personalisation and customer-centricity is an integral part of any business operation if it is to excel and delight its customers. Furthermore, simple changes to make things easier can not only enhance the experience for your customers in need of more support, but add huge value to all customers. For example, photographic ID verification can be fast and convenient – but for those who have social anxiety eliminate the challenge of personally delivering ID.
The value of data
Likewise, data assets can help populate customer information, which creates a much slicker, quicker process for anyone. However, it’s even more beneficial for those who suffer memory loss. This isn’t a simple development to enforce or embed. The strands of challenge are quite broad and it will take time to integrate into any organisation’s culture. But the link between financial difficulty and poor mental health is well established, according to the debt charity StepChange. It says the pressure that comes with money struggles can “exacerbate” and even cause mental health problems.
Balancing process with personalisation [Worry free process]
Affordability checks can provide a good qualification of ability to afford a loan, and credit scores can automate a risk profile on an individual, but personalisation is critical and should be an additional layer within any process. Staying ahead of economic changes can raise awareness to potential stress points of society, for example if interest rates increase what proportion of society will become stressed – which could develop into a more severe scenario of stress for them. Equally, being able to simplify and enhance your customer journey specifically related to an individual can offer an inclusive strategy.
The question is, how are you sharing your vision – and do you share the vision of the nation and the customer? If not, maybe now is the time to start.