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Could harnessing these 4 strategies be the key to gaining the trust of customers in vulnerable circumstances?


Last week, Mando hosted the Consumer Vulnerability Workshop with Utility Week, the key theme that repeatedly emerged was “trust” and the importance of gaining the trust of customers in vulnerable circumstances.

Gaining the trust and loyalty of your customers is essential for growing a successful business. And though this may sound obvious, it’s difficult to overestimate the importance of establishing a base of long-term customers that have trust in your company.

The feeling of anxiety and stress is universal for humans. For customers in vulnerable circumstances, the feeling of anxiety and stress is even more acute, often beginning before an initial engagement with an organisation, and heightening as they proceed.

Negative outcomes only serve to heighten this anxiety, exacerbating the stress around paying a bill, submitting a meter reading, or changing the address on an insurance policy. Alleviating these pain points is vitally important when looking to build trust with all of your customers.


So how can you harness technology to build a brand your customers can trust?


Inclusive Design – inclusive design is not just an ethical and moral responsibility; it makes good business sense.

Ensuring your digital design is accessible for the entirety of your customer base maximises the potential to build trust, which will impact every measure of success in delivering positive customer experiences.

Inclusive design can be as much about what is not needed, as what is. It’s essential to provide clear information and user journeys and obvious ways for the customer to interact with your journey in the way that best suits them.

Far from just an ideological pursuit, adopting the appeal and usability of digital experiences translates into the currency of trust. Design that meets the needs of all your customers, accepting constraint and embracing diversity, reduces anxiety as it enables your customers to engage with your company on their own terms.


Embracing emerging technologies – consumers have an ever-growing number of channels available to them nowadays, and although phone lines are still an option, it’s no longer the only way for customers to interact with you.

Up to now, everything has been done via phone, then website, and more latterly social media and chat, but we are more connected than ever. New channels, driven by advancements in technology, using natural language, artificial intelligence and sensors are further broadening the options for communication between company and consumer.

These emerging technologies could dramatically improve experiences for a priority customer, or customers with different needs generally, providing them with more choice and capabilities to interact with their suppliers. Customers who are unable to use a keyboard, or who have significant visual impairment can access services via Amazon Alexa or Google Home, providing them with convenience and a method of communication they can access easily and quickly.

There are more than 10 million smart speakers in UK homes and this is set to rise to 25 million within 3 years, with 44% of owners saying that they use them multiple times each day. Voice will inevitably play an important role in aiding customers in vulnerable circumstances to pay a bill, report a leak, and renew a policy. Those companies who deliver great voice experiences will see a reduction in their cost to serve, provide their customers with fairer prices and increase customer satisfaction scores.


Eliminating language barriers – at the last census, 4.2 million people in the UK cited another language (other than English and Welsh) as their main language. In the London Borough of Newham, this statistic is particularly prevalent, with only 42% of the residents speaking English as their first language.

Language barriers can create automatic vulnerability and combined with other vulnerabilities such as financial difficulties or a disability, these issues can be amplified. This can cause friction between the consumer and the supplier, potentially causing an irreparable breakdown in trust.

By companies communicating with their customer in their native language, they can remove a barrier that could easily prevent them from building trust. Voice enabled devices like Amazon Alexa and Google Home have automated translation built into them, enabling consumers to communicate easily with their suppliers, in their native language, removing a stressful lack of understanding and a potential breakdown of trust.


Personalisation – website and email personalisation is an integral element of providing a thorough customer experience to consumers. By offering experiences tailored to each consumer’s specific needs, the customer is more likely to trust the company and continue their journey with them.

If a customer wakes up in the morning to find they have no electricity or gas, this can be an unnerving, potentially traumatic experience for them, particularly in situations where consumers rely on electricity to power their dialysis machines, to relay transmissions from their pacemakers to physicians, or even for elderly customers who rely on those services to simply keep warm.

Personalised content can be tailored to perceive the needs of vulnerable customers, highlighting calls-to-action to feature priority service registration forms, announce power outages in certain regions, and provide information regarding when the power will be back on, reassuring customers and further developing trust.


If you have found yourself looking for ways to improve your customer experience and effectively build trust with your customers in vulnerable circumstances, you may benefit from our Website Accessibility Audit. To find out more about this service please contact our Business Development Director, Andy Deakin.