Businesses have been working very hard to respond to, and deal with, the evolving impacts of Covid-19. The crisis has affected companies in a range of different ways across the spectrum – their governance, culture, sales processes, customer servicing and how they deal with customers that are less resilient, vulnerable and in financial difficulty. All business have been mindful of doing the right thing and both treating their stakeholders and customers fairly and also with compassion and understanding.
However, the crisis and its effects are still very much present. And they are evolving and adding up over time. As we head into the summer holiday period, how well prepared is your business for the autumn? By this time:
- The furlough scheme, which currently has over a quarter of British workers within it, will be heading into its final stages.
- The mortgage and consumer credit temporary measures including a ban on repossessions, will be close to ending.
- Businesses will have offered customers a range of different measures to help and support them – how consistent and joined up are they?
- Some temporary reliefs and forbearance measures will have been ongoing for months – how confident are businesses that customers can now resume payments?
- Potential detriment could have been created by extending forbearance in some areas where actually the customer cannot viably repay – have there been cases of too much fairness at the customer’s expense?
Businesses should start thinking about these areas now, and not wait until the autumn to do so. In terms of practical steps around this, companies should consider areas including:
- The strength of their governance and oversight mechanisms in responding to Covid-19.
- What tailored management information they have in place.
- How issues are escalated and dealt with.
- Their customer and other stakeholder communications.
- The consistency of their customer handling and what support options have been offered.
- Customer feedback and complaint outcomes.
Our Risk Consulting practice has extensive experience across these areas and also of supporting firms with “lessons learned” reviews to help understand and embed learnings and improvements for the future.
Careful planning is therefore key to ensuring your company comes out of the summer aligned to regulatory expectation, and to avoid a holiday hangover of poor customer outcomes.