PwC Research briefing: Supporting customers in vulnerable situations

01 May 2018

Author - Richard Fincham

Vulnerable pic

Last month, PwC Research held its first breakfast briefing, bringing together over 50 clients to discuss and debate consumer vulnerability.

It was a great opportunity to demonstrate PwC Research's connected insight in action,  as we shared findings from qualitative depth interviews, stakeholder interviews and our recently launched Quantibus survey. We also hosted an expert panel discussion including representatives from the FCA, Northumbrian Water, Ofcom and Smart Energy GB.

Honor Mallon, PwC Partner and PwC Research leader, said: “It was fantastic to see so many organisations from across industries attend the session. It really highlights the importance being placed on understanding consumer vulnerability, and the value of research on this topic.”

Emerging themes from the event...

  • The complexity of ‘vulnerability’, it’s a fluid concept with multiple factors impacting a consumers ability to cope with any given situation. As such, it was recognised that consumers in similar circumstances often have a very different set of needs.
  • Encouraging disclosure was recognised as a key challenge across sectors, as consumers are often reluctant to inform providers of their situation. We heard how in utilities for example, sharing of data has helped to mitigate the need for consumers to have, what can often be difficult and emotional conversations, with all of their providers. However some questions were also raised about the impact of GDPR on this sort of activity.
  • It was also recognised that the needs of consumers in vulnerable situations are often universally relevant. For example, having a choice of ways to interact, receiving real-time information, and easy read communications. As such, making improvements here can improve the customer experience for all.


Breakfast quotes

There was common agreement across all organisations present of the increasing importance of the vulnerable consumer agenda and we’ve had some great feedback from those who attended:


To find out more please contact Richard Fincham or Rebecca Reynolds.


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