Are disabled customers treated fairly by banks and building societies?By Karen Troubridge
11 million people in the UK* have a limiting long term illness, impairment or disability. That is approximately 17% of the population. At BVA BDRC, we regularly capture the opinions of people with very varying circumstances to make our customer experience surveys as inclusive as possible.
BVA BDRC’s Moments of Truth NPS Benchmarking programme captures the views of consumers about their experiences with UK financial providers. As part of this, we interviewed over 3,300 consumers with a disability or impairment at the end of 2016, including those with mobility, hearing or visual impairments, verbal, learning, and social or behavioural impairments.
Online banking is the most commonly used channel in the UK, with 73% of the general population using it at least once in the past 12 months. It also remains the most commonly used channel regardless of the type of disability, more popular than branch visits, telephone or using a mobile banking app. So, financial organisations need to ensure this channel, above all others, is accessible and user-friendly.
It turns out that consumers with a limiting long-term impairment or disability are just as likely to recommend their bank or building society versus the general population following use of their online banking facility. Of course, there are variations when we look at individual provider performance.
People with mobility issues are most likely to recommend online banking, being over 4 times more likely than those with learning difficulties – a segment seemingly under-served by this channel. For those with mobility issues, in particular, it allows the facility to conduct their everyday banking without the challenges of accessing the branch environment. Consumers with hearing or visual impairment came second and third respectively for willingness to recommend their banking provider based on their most recent online banking experience. These individuals particularly welcomed initiatives and improvements such as large text, requesting assistance for an upcoming branch visit and generally, the ability to manage their finances in the comfort of their own home.
To this end, when accessing their online platform, over 1 in 10 customers with a disability or impairment stated they received some form of specialist treatment, linked specifically to their needs and circumstances. This was mainly in relation to the ability to modify and customise their online banking pages to make it easier to use. For example, customers said:
“The site allows you to change font sizes and stops time out.”
“They have audio description on the website for when you need to select options but are having eyesight problems.”
The on-going enhancements made to various financial services access channels, including SignVideo, Induction / Hearing loops, Large Print / Braille on documents and Talking ATMs, are all helping to enhance accessibility for those with disabilities.
The good news is that the work that financial institutions have put into treating all of their customers fairly is paying off. There is no evidence to suggest that banks and building societies are treating customers with disabilities or impairments unfairly compared to able-bodied consumers, though we continue to monitor this through the Moments of Truth programme.
Find out more about the Moments of Truth programme
* Source: Family Resources Survey 2011/12