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FCA: Avoid “Computer Says No” with Vulnerable Consumers

Research published by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) reveals that some vulnerable consumers seeking help with their debts from financial providers are meeting a “computer says no” approach, putting them at risk of further detriment.

In one case, a cancer patient told the FCA that they contacted their bank to discuss a temporary loss of income. Instead of talking through their options, the representative told the consumer to call back when their accounts were in arrears.

The FCA’s research revealed what we all know: The response of staff on a helpline or in a branch is crucial to customers’ experience and outcomes.

The “computer says no” approach is funny on TV, not so funny to your customers.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Financial services organizations now need to establish a consistent way to assess a debtors’ income and expenditure, and to assist them with sustainable, affordable payments.

However, many organizations are finding it challenging to implement a uniform approach in both a customer-facing and operational environment. The process of gathering information can be time-consuming, and consumers often feel embarrassed or pressured when speaking with a collections advisor and don’t have accurate information easily at hand. This can lead to multiple long calls or unintentionally inaccurate data.

To help with this problem, FICO is launching the FICO® Affordability Calculator. This allows customers to have greater control over their financial situation by providing a 24/7 self-serve functionality, via customizable forms based on their specific circumstances. This consistent and compliant solution gives organizations the ability to quickly and easily work with customers to find payment structures that work for both parties.

Thanks to Kate Winterflood at FICO for information in this post.

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