Aptean, a global provider of mission-critical enterprise software solutions, announced enhancements to its case and complaint management platform, Aptean Respond, including a first-to-market consumer vulnerability detection feature. This important new capability helps organisations deliver superior customer service that also meets key regulatory requirements for fair treatment and appropriate support of customers that may be experiencing vulnerability due to varying personal circumstances or life events.
This year, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) issued a report on vulnerable consumers—individuals who, due to their personal circumstances or life events, are especially susceptible to harm. The research, which was conducted before the start of the coronavirus pandemic, showed that 24 million UK citizens displayed one or more characteristics of vulnerability, including mental and physical disabilities, long-term illness, age, socioeconomic and behavioral characteristics and personal situations.
Due to these findings and effects of the pandemic, the FCA recently updated its guidance on the fair treatment of vulnerable customers, urging firms to pay greater attention to the needs of customers who are undergoing severe challenges. Other compliance regulators, such as the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), also require financial firms to take steps to identify potentially vulnerable customers, understand their needs and provide fair and appropriate support and services.
Recognising vulnerability is a critical area of complaint handling for any business that is invested in treating all customers fairly. However, in contact centers, where frontline staff may lack experience in identifying signs of vulnerability, early warning signs can be easily missed during the case handling process. The first solution of its kind, Aptean Respond’s Consumer Vulnerability Detection feature is a built-in text analytics tool that scans all inbound electronic customer communications flowing through the platform, flagging signs of potential vulnerability and alerting case handlers to provide the customer with appropriate support.
“Current circumstances have increased risk for many vulnerable customers, with some experiencing new vulnerability for the first time in their lives,” said Martin Wagstaff, Group Vice President at Aptean. “In order to address this daunting rise in vulnerabilities, firms must place greater effort towards identifying vulnerable customers and meeting their needs. The new Consumer Vulnerability Detection feature in Aptean Respond significantly enhances the ability to recognise potential vulnerability, helping firms treat these customers fairly and keep in compliance with regional regulators.”