How can you best support your borrowers through the financial crisis?

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The current economic crisis is pushing more and more consumers into vulnerable situations, piling pressure on the financial sector to manage high volumes of customer queries with accuracy, speed, and compassion. As Cassie Stephenson, Chief Operating Officer at Lenvi reports, the time has come for a new level of customer service excellence.

We’ve all seen the news. As soaring inflation is followed by a surge in interest rates, huge numbers of people across the UK are struggling to make ends meet. And it’s not just bank balances that are suffering – many are struggling increasingly with their mental health.

It’s an issue that has been building since the pandemic crisis broke in 2020. Driven by these demands, and our focus on training, people skills and technology, my colleagues at Lenvi are ready to push customer service standards to a new level.

Our new Customer Excellence Centre (CEC) is now open in Cardiff, and we believe it’s well named. From the outset, we’ve been determined to set the Centre up for success from the day it opens. Lenvi has always been a pioneer in user-friendly customer technology, and the Centre enables your customers to self-serve across a wide range of areas. But when they need to speak to someone, our highly-skilled team is also there to help.

My CEC colleagues benefit from extensive and ongoing training in how to support vulnerable customers, which is clearly likely to be an increasing challenge in the months and years to come. Those vulnerabilities include physical disabilities, mental health issues, severe or long-term illness, hearing or visual impairments, cognitive difficulties and addiction problems. However, they also include customers reeling from life events (such as bereavement or relationship breakdowns) and the large numbers of people currently in difficulty due to the economic crisis.

The training that we provide means that all our staff know how to look out for these vulnerabilities, offer assistance and, where appropriate, refer callers to the outstanding network of support groups that is available in the UK.

But our training extends well beyond that. The CEC is being established primarily to support clients in the lending sector, particularly mortgages. All our staff are fully trained to manage a wide range of regular customer queries and scenarios across secured lending products, such as changing the date of a direct debit or making an overpayment. And as we are an FCA-regulated body, we subject all our loan service activity to the same high levels of scrutiny, whether the loans are secured or unsecured.

The world around is changing rapidly and the way that our clients will be expected to care for their customers is changing too. We believe that our Customer Excellence Centre is the new best-in-class model. But we are also committed to evolving and enhancing that model as conditions and expectations continue to change.

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