At Lowell we’re always looking to improve our ways of working and the service we provide to both our customers and our clients. In keeping with our mission to make credit work better for all we want to help our customers feel empowered to take control of their debt and ensure that they receive the appropriate levels of support from us, whichever method of contact they choose.
This has become even more important in the current cost-of-living crisis. To ensure we understand customer behaviour and help us identify customers who need additional support we have been listening to customer and colleague feedback to see where we can improve our services.
Lowell ensures that our colleagues in the CEC are trained to a high standard and are equipped to identify affordability and vulnerability triggers, enabling them to support customers appropriately to achieve a fair outcome.
When setting up a payment plan with a customer, generally we complete a detailed Budget Calculator based on the customer’s income and expenditure (I&E). We know from customer feedback, and feedback from our colleagues, that many of our customers already understand their budget and know what they can realistically afford to pay and are often reluctant to complete a Budget Calculator.
We have commenced trialling a ‘Summary I&E’ to support these conversations. We will still assess affordability, and the Summary I&E will still flag affordability triggers, but it will allow us to have a more organic conversation with a customer and ensure that customers feel that the process of talking with Lowell and taking control of their debts is easy and sustainable.
The Budget Calculator will still be used for customers who are identified as having affordability triggers to ensure that the service they receive is tailored to meet their needs.
What changes will customers see?
Customers will still receive the same high level of service. We are ensuring that a series of proactive questions are asked during their conversation with the customer. These questions will help us to determine if completion of the Budget Calculator is appropriate.
We will continue to obtain high level income and expenditure details, confirm priority bills are up to date as well as asking the source of funding, before seeking customer confirmation that plans are affordable.
The only difference will be that some customers won’t be required to complete the Budget Calculator, this will be applicable where both the customer and Lowell are comfortable that there are no affordability barriers to payment and that the plan that has been proposed is fair, affordable, and sustainable for the customer..
What about the customers where this is not appropriate?
The full Budget Calculator will still be used where it is identified that a customer has met one of the affordability triggers.
The Budget Calculator will help further understand a customer’s situation, enabling us to give them the right level of support, it also helps customers understand their finances in more detail and where they need the additional support.
Ensuring that customers get the right outcome for their personal circumstances is critical to our process and the introduction of the Summary I&E does not change our commitment to ensuring a fair outcome for every customer. We still want to ensure that customers are not committing to a payment plan that they may ultimately not be able to sustain.
A tailored process
By tailoring our process to meet customer needs we will ensure that all customers receive an appropriate level of support which meets their personal requirements.
Customers can contact us at any time to amend their plan if they feel it is unsuitable and they can also amend it digitally via our website or app, and the online Budget Calculator is always available to customers should they wish to complete it.
If you have any questions regarding the trial please contact your Client Manager or Head of Sector.
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