No One Left Behind

Rob Thickett, BSA Digital Policy Manager, outlines the series of BSA events that took place in 2023 to help members support vulnerable customers.

Robert Thickett, BSAFrom a possible digital pound, to apps on our phones, platforms and changes to the way we use branches, there is a risk that the rising tide of technology does not raise all boats.

A series of events for building societies and credit unions in 2023 provided information through a range of presentations, Q&A panels, and interactive workshops on which groups are particularly exposed, and how technology can support different types of vulnerable customers. 

While paper-based passbooks and in-branch service remained the primary means by which members engage with customers, the series of webinars considered not just how these forms of engagement could be improved, but how digital tools could overlay and augment customer engagement in the future. Topics ranged from digital inclusion to considering older customers, and from inclusive design to branch innovation. 

The No One Left Behind series of events highlighted the different considerations for vulnerable customers and how this informs the design choices of members as they increasingly digitise services.   

Top tip from each of the events: 

1)    Inclusive design: Exploring concepts of inclusive design throughout product development. 

Top Tip: When beginning to design a product or service, bear in mind that improvements made to your offering to support vulnerabilities can positively impact all of your customer’s experiences. 

2)    Digital inclusion: Making the link between digital and financial inclusion and their impact.  

Top Tip:
Not having access to the internet, or having the right knowledge and skills to navigate it, can link to people having poorer financial health. As a natural community hub, building society branches could provide digital skills training to support their customers in accessing their banking digitally. 

3)    Older people and people living with dementia: Ensuring communications and products are appropriately offered.   

Top Tip:
Where new technology is introduced, needs and usability need to be signposted in the design stage, with positive experiences helping to drive up adoption that will benefit older people. 

4)    Understandable communications: Discussing the accessibility of products and services for different ranges of customer financial literacy. 

Top Tip: Numbers do not come naturally to most humans, with 4 out of 5 adults having the numeracy skills below those expected of a 16 year old. There needs to be consideration about the presentation if numbers so that as broad a range of people can understand them, irrespective of their numerical abilities. 

5)    Supporting customers via branch technology: Considering how digitisation and automation can assist existing services. 

Top Tip
: Digital Identity is coming, and governments across the globe are pushing and moving ever closer to enforcement and adoption, with tools available for in-branch verification, in addition to customers without mobile phones. 

6)    Branch innovation: Tackling how modern branches can better engage with new technologies and future generations. 

Top Tip: The community benefits of Access to Cash: Open Banking can connect to all of the main current account service providers and provide personal and business banking services. This can provide much needed access to cash for communities where the high street banks no longer provide a branch. It also opens the door to building societies in terms of connecting with a wider share of the community and advertising savings and mortgage lending

Find out more:

The No One Left Behind event series will continue in the coming months, with joining information available on the BSA website. For the full members report with further detail on the sessions and more tips to takeaway, please head to https://bit.ly/3Ra2hte?r=qr