UK, 21 September, 2023: Nearly three-quarters (73%) of disabled people have delayed contacting an essential service provider because it seemed too daunting to them, meaning they could be missing out on much-needed support and important information.
Experian's research reveals that disabled people, on average, wait more than two months - 82 days - before contacting a provider. They cited feeling emotionally drained (37%), anxious (34%) and demoralised (27%) after interactions with organisations.
The delay is having a detrimental impact on people’s lives, with most disabled people surveyed (52%) saying they would have spent the time resting or sleeping without anxiety if they could get the time back. Despite this less than a fifth (19%) of people with access needs have requested support from service providers.
Exploring behaviour around financial services more broadly, people with access requirements are also less likely to switch service providers across multiple sectors – from credit cards to savings accounts, energy suppliers, and TV subscriptions.
For instance, only 28% have swapped credit cards, compared to 36% for those people without any access needs. Almost one third (28%) of disabled people polled said their finances had been negatively impacted by not being able to easily contact essential services.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has found that an estimated 7.4 million people** have unsuccessfully attempted to contact one or more of their service providers, with the most vulnerable in society most likely to struggle. To help, Experian has launched Support Hub in collaboration with some of the country’s largest companies including HSBC UK, Nationwide Building Society, Tesco Bank, consumer credit provider NewDay, Co-operative Bank and Ovo.
It is the culmination of more than three years’ work between Experian, the founding partners and accessibility experts. Support Hub pilot offers a single one-stop portal for consumers to tell multiple businesses how they need to be contacted and what support they need to access their service. This could include preferred method of communication such as letter, telephone, or email, or other requirements such as needing a longer appointment, or being accompanied by another adult to assist them.
Crucially, it does not require consumers to disclose their disability – only the support they require from the organisations they use. Users have complete control over which organisations they share with, and what needs they share, and can remove their permission at any time.
When surveyed about the solution, 60% said they would like to use a service that informs multiple suppliers about their needs.
José Luiz Rossi, Managing Director, Experian UK&I, said: “We need to remove the frustration and anxiety people feel when contacting service providers, and we have to build solutions and products that are accessible for everyone. The world is not built for minority groups, and we often expect people with disabilities to conform to typical expectations.
“We’ve built Support Hub with partners from the disabled community and our founding members, so we can help level the communications playing field for people with access requirements.
“This is a service that has been made with inclusivity in mind, allowing people to log their information, controlling what is shared and with who, so that multiple organisations know in advance how they should communicate with a customer – whether that be letters through the post in braille – or offer additional support for face-to-face appointments.”
People can use Support Hub by visiting: https://supporthub.experian.co.uk/
Founding Member Quotes:
Gerry Mallon, Tesco Bank CEO, said: “At Tesco Bank we work hard to understand and provide support to vulnerable customers. The development of the Experian Support Hub forms part of our commitment to help make life easier for those who might need a little extra support.
“We place the customer at the heart of everything we do, and the data and insight we’ve gained through collaborating with Experian and the other founding organisations will allow us to better support our vulnerable customers.”
Jose Carvalho, Head of Wealth & Personal Banking, HSBC UK, said: “At HSBC UK, we believe that financial health is a key part of overall well-being. We are proud to be a founding partner of the innovative Experian Support Hub.
“It’s important that customers have easier access to the support they need, without needing to repeat themselves across multiple firms. Using a one-stop portal to tell their providers how they need to be contacted and supported, will help improve customer experience and make strides to create a more inclusive environment for all our customers.”
Sarah Liddon, Senior Customer Vulnerability Manager, Nationwide Building Society, said: “Ensuring our customers get the help and support they need from our colleagues is extremely important to us, so we’re pleased to be a founding member of Support Hub, working with Experian and the other organisations to make life easier for consumers, no matter who their service provider is.”
Maria Cearns, Chief Operating Officer, The Co-operative Bank, said: “We are proud to have been involved in the development of the Experian Support Hub from the beginning. As a bank founded on co-operative values and ethics, the fair treatment of customers is embedded in our culture, processes and policies.
Being able to declare support needs to multiple organisations, at the same time and in an accessible way, will make a genuine difference to our customers lives and will enable us better support them.”
Gareth Wood, VP Operations, OVO, said: “We’re proud to be a founding member of Support Hub, designed to help those who need it most have more control. OVO is committed to providing an inclusive service for everyone and we encourage all customers to explore the options available to them through using the Support Hub.”
Notes to editors:
Nationally representative research carried out by Opinium of 1,000 UK adults with support needs, and 1,000 without support needs.
*Access needs/requirements include conditions or illnesses that affect people in the following areas: vision; hearing; mobility; dexterity; learning or understanding or concentrating; memory; mental health; stamina or breathing or fatigue; socially or behaviourally.
About Support Hub
Robert Goodman, PR Manager, Corporate & Business, UK&I, Experian
Tel: +44 7989 398 498 / Email: Robert.Goodman@Experian.com
Brands2Life for Experian
Experian is the world’s leading global information services company. During life’s big moments – from buying a home or a car, to sending a child to college, to growing a business by connecting with new customers – we empower consumers and our clients to manage their data with confidence. We help individuals to take financial control and access financial services, businesses to make smarter decisions and thrive, lenders to lend more responsibly, and organisations to prevent identity fraud and crime.
We have 22,000 people operating across 32 countries and every day we’re investing in new technologies, talented people, and innovation to help all our clients maximise every opportunity. With corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, we are listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and are a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.
Learn more at www.experianplc.com or visit our global content hub at our global news blog for the latest news and insights from the Group.