What Makes an Individual Vulnerable?
Sometimes vulnerabilities are obvious, either visually or audibly. An elderly person may be considered vulnerable when making decisions about financial products or services where the terms used are complicated or unfamilar. Those struggling with debt or who are recently bereaved can also be considered vulnerable and whilst their vulnerability may be temporary, it still requires the correct approach.
However, there are also vulnerabilities that are not obvious such as a teenager buying car insurance for the first time being unaware of what they need in a policy and therefore being at risk from overselling or under insuring. Mental health issues can often be hidden in plain sight and even the individual suffering with their health may not be aware that they are vulnerable.
2 main definitions can be used to define what a vulnerable customer is: –
Customers who are unable, for whatever reason, to make an informed decision at the time of dealing with them.
Customers falling into this category include those with language barriers, hearing difficulties, those with mental health issues, suffering from bereavement, learning difficulties or the elderly.
These customers may struggle to decide on whether the service or product you are providing is in their best interests. It is essential in such cases that staff are aware of how to identify such vulnerabilities and also are able to advise in a fair and consistent manner.
Customers whose welfare (financial, mental or physical) could be put at risk through choosing the service or product you offer.
These customers include anyone who is going to be put at detriment from taking up your offer. This could be financially if taking out a loan or setting up a donation payment plan causes added financial stress.
Firms have a duty of care to ensure they do not cause undue stress to those in vulnerable situations. Some customers don’t know that they are vulnerable and so do not think to disclose this information during contact with you.
At Know Your Compliance Limited we understand the rules and guidelines on dealing with vulnerable customers and what controls and measures firms are expected to have in place. Training your staff in identifying, handling and monitoring vulnerable customers is an essential business practice and mandatory for many industries.
Our Vulnerable Customers Training Package comes with ready to use PowerPoint slides, extensive trainer note, test papers & answer sheets and trainee handouts that provide all of the information and materials necessary for a successful vulnerable customer training session. The materials are fully customisable so that each business can edit the content to suit their business type and requirements.
Online training sessions are often impersonal and do not allow for trainee feedback or clarification, meaning that you do not know if your target audience has really understood or taken onboard what you need them to learn. By delivering your own vulnerable customer training course, you save time, money and know what you are teaching and more importantly, what your employees are learning.