The Lending Standards Board has published an insights report looking at the role of credit sector staff ‘life experience’ in the service their customers receive.
The report cites examples such as a customer who says they are getting divorced benefiting from speaking to an adviser who had experienced similar events and may therefore understand the ramifications and respond more appropriately than someone who has not. It also references instances where life experience has been mentioned as a reason for instances of poor service delivery, for example, when an agent displayed a lack of empathy towards a customer disclosing a vulnerability.
If life experience does affect customer outcomes, it could have a great impact on how firms recruit, train, and support their first line staff and Lending Standards Board believes there could be opportunities to improve on the service delivered by utilising the knowledge or skills of existing staff. There may also be risks that need mitigating to
ensure the life experience of staff does not lead to detrimental customer outcomes. With this in mind, the report seeks to explore further the questions around the life experience of customer contact agents and the impact on customer outcomes.
The research raised a host of considerations for firms in relation to the life experience of their staff. These included the need for:
- Recruitment processes that up-skill and support staff involved in the assessment and interview process, to best identify talent from a range of backgrounds.
- A culture that empowers and values agents, encouraging a work environment focused on good customer outcomes and sharing examples of best practice.
- Training that utilises and builds on existing knowledge whilst developing the core skills identified during the recruitment stage.
- Ongoing agent support and aftercare that recognises the challenging role agents have and how coronavirus has affected the nature of their workplace.