Telecoms News from NTSI

The Latest Telecoms & Infrastructure News

87% of senior telecoms professionals believe supporting vulnerable customers is a ‘moral duty’

New research from data solutions expert, Sagacity, shows 97% of senior telecoms professionals think having access to internet and communications is a basic human right that everyone should be entitled to. However, while 87% of them believe Network Operators have a moral duty to support vulnerable customers, two thirds (66%) of them admit the industry isn’t currently doing enough to fulfil this obligation.

“Earlier this year, Ofcom made a clear statement that telecom businesses need to do more to support vulnerable customers – in particular, not restricting access to vital services if customers are struggling. With the cost-of-living crisis worsening, and bills rising across the board, many households are struggling. And in today’s digital world, staying connected isn’t a ‘nice to have’ – it’s an essential part of everyday life, both personally and professionally. Children need connectivity for home learning, many adults rely on it for contacting loved ones, and of course there’s the widespread adoption of remote working. The industry needs to step up and do its part to help ease the burden,” comments Harry Dougall, Founder, Sagacity.

Overall, 96% of respondents believe that the telco industry needs to do more to ensure help is getting to those that need it. In practice, however, the research shows many telcos want to be met halfway: 68% say that while they feel for people that are struggling, if they want help, they should ask for it – rather than expecting the business to invest in tracking them down. More than a third (36%) claim they do not even have the data or resources to proactively find customers that need extra support in the first place.

When asked what measures their organisation has in place to identify and support vulnerable customers:

• Half (50%) of them offer special tariffs for those that apply, if they can provide proof of their circumstances
• 44% use third party data – such as data on those claiming other benefits – to identify customers that may be entitled to support
• 38% actively promote and advertise their social tariffs to ensure that people are aware of what is available
• 8% are not taking steps to proactively identify and support vulnerable customers, but are making plans on how they can do this

“While there is broad agreement from people working in the industry that more needs to be done to ensure help gets to those that need it, many believe the onus should be on the customer to ask for help,” Dougall continues. “But from our experience with identifying financially vulnerable customers, people are not always forthcoming in asking for help when it’s needed. This could mean millions are falling through the gaps. Taking a proactive approach to ensure that people know what support is available, using data to identify people that might need more help, will make all the difference. Yet to do this, organisations need to be able to join the dots across multiple datasets, both internally and externally. So a big step will be for telecoms providers to wrangle their data and apply an analytics layer which allows them to look for trends and spot anomalies that will help them to proactively support the vulnerable.”

Tags:
Lisa Baker is Group Editor for the Need to See IT Publishing Group. Lisa writes about HR, Technology, Health, the Environment and Business.
View all posts

You Might Also Like