HSBC, Nationwide, Tesco Bank, Newday and Ovo have joined with Experian to launch a one-stop portal for disabled consumers to tell multiple service providers how they need to be contacted and what support they need to access their services.
Research carried out by Experian found that disabled people wait, on average, more than two months before contacting an essential service provider due to feeling daunted by the process. They cited feeling emotionally drained (37%), anxious (34%) and demoralised (27%) after interactions with organisations. And almost one third (28%) of disabled people polled said their finances had been negatively impacted by not being able to easily contact essential service providers.
Jose Carvalho, head of wealth & personal banking, HSBC UK, comments: “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.”
The new Support Hub is the culmination of more than three years’ work between the founding partners and accessibility experts.
The platform seeks to alleviate barriers faced by a variety of customers. This could include their preferred method of communication such as accessible format letters, telephone, or email, or other requirements such as needing a longer appointment, or being accompanied by another adult to assist them.
Consumers using the platform will have complete control over which organisations they share with, what needs they share and they can remove or change their request at any time.
Support Hub is initially launching with domains related to sight, hearing, mental health or dementia, with new domains added in the near future.
José Luiz Rossi, managing director, Experian UK&I, says: “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.”