It appears to be a never-ending conversation, but as the banking experience becomes increasingly digital, with branches closing up and down the country, a growing number of individuals find themselves struggling to keep up.

But it goes beyond this simple observation. Various types of people can be considered vulnerable, all with different banking needs specific to them. But how do banks adapt to serve these vulnerable customers?

A panel titled: Supporting those who need it most: serving vulnerable customers in a digital space, took place at the Customer Experience in Financial Services Conference 2024. The panel was Chaired by Matt Gibson, Chief Commercial Officer & Associate Director, CACI Digital Experience, with the panel made up of: Harry Ashbridge, Head of Writing & Customer Experience, Monzo, Jenny Briars, Head of Customer Governance & Heritage, LV=, Tiago Ferreira, Client Experience Specialist, Nedbank Private Wealth and Meera Rao, UX Lead, CACI Digital Experience.

A key point of the discussion focused on news that came out last year, involving a man in his 90s being debanked by mistake and losing access to his pension, and how this event has served as a cautionary tale, putting fear and anxiety into customers concerned that perhaps they could fall through the cracks.

Inclusivity is a social responsibility and growth opportunity

Therefore the panel discussed how to simplify applications and claims with accessible design such as integrated messaging for personalise support and examine the role in communities and in-person experience

The common consensus was that the panellists saw inclusivity as a social responsibility and growth opportunity. The panel spoke openly about what it is they expect from their own banking experience.

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One of the biggest debates of the entire two-day conference spilt over into this speech. That being, should customer experience focus on the digital space or do we still need personal interaction? Even after much deliberation, there is still no concrete answer to be met. The key takeaway is that many customers want a nearly fully digital experience, and some want to do all their banking in person. The summary can be ended with a phrase that ironically pleases no one: you can’t please everyone.