Blog: NewDay's Awareness Week

17th August 2023

A volunteer from our Employment Service tells us about raising awareness of customers who stammer at a recent event.

In July, we at STAMMA were thrilled to be invited along to NewDay's Vulnerable Customer Awareness Week. NewDay is a credit company and the week was all about showcasing its services which are available to support their customers.

They became aware of us after watching a powerful video clip of people who stammer, as part of a customer service project they were working on. They found about the support we offer through our Employment Service and were keen to get in touch and include us.

A word on 'Vulnerable'

NewDay's event was called 'Vulnerable Customer Awareness Week'. One thing we want to touch on is the use of the word 'vulnerable'. Here at STAMMA, we acknowledge that the way companies use this word can feel a bit uncomfortable. But we also recognise that there's good intention behind it. Organisations such as NewDay, who are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, need to have certain processes in place for customers who may be regarded as vulnerable. This is so they can ensure that their services and procedures are accessible for a wide range of people.

Whilst a person who stammers may not regard themselves as 'vulnerable', it's a catch-all term. It's used as a reminder that all kinds of people will be using an organisation's services, so those services need to be inclusive of their individual needs. We don't want people to be disadvantaged by or excluded from an organisation's systems and processes.

Conversations & sharing insights

We were invited, along with other charities and organisations, to attend two events at NewDay's Leeds and London offices that week. It turned out to be a great opportunity for STAMMA, enabling us to shine a light on the work that we do as part of the Employment Service. It also allowed us to engage with their staff and other attendees who were all incredibly interested, and moved, by what we had to say.

It helped people start to think about how their interactions with customers who stammer can be supportive and how their organisation's processes can be inclusive.

During our visit to the Leeds office, we spoke with staff members from the Customer Care Team who deal with vulnerable customers on a daily basis. We learnt about their processes and in turn we shared ideas and thoughts on how better to support customers with speech differences. The Training Team were particularly interested in our suggested script for dealing with silent calls from people who stammer and we had some thoughtful conversations with the Fraud Team around their procedures.

Visiting the London office was just as successful. We had conversations with its HR and Talent Acquisition team, particularly around using the phrase 'excellent communication skills' on job descriptions, which can put off people who stammer from applying. We spoke about making adjustments to job interview processes for applicants who stammer too.

We also had the opportunity to network and build new relationships with the other charities and organisations that were there. The aim now is to continue these great conversations and look at ways we can work together further.  

It's during times like this that we are reminded just how important the work we do here at STAMMA is. Some people we spoke to had never heard of the charity. Others said they had never spoken to a person who stammers before. Some had dealt with customers with speech differences but in each of the conversations we were able to share valuable insight and resources. It helped people start to think about how their interactions with customers who stammer can be supportive and how their organisation's processes can be inclusive.

If you or your organisation want to learn how STAMMA can support you, get in touch. Email or phone 0808 802 0002. Learn more about the STAMMA Employment Service

For support with employment if you stammer see Stammering At Work and Job Interviews. Or see our Resources for Employers.

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Tayo & Bhupinder
A speaker on stage at STAMMAFest 2023

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