Experian's New Support Hub
Volunteer Lyndsay introduces the work we've been doing with Experian to make it easier to contact companies if you stammer.
Lots of people who stammer talk about the challenges they face when talking to businesses. Whether it's sorting out car insurance, getting a mortgage, reporting a stolen credit card, paying a bill or booking a GP appointment, many businesses just aren't very good at adapting the way they work for customers who stammer.
But there are some exciting new developments happening in the world of business which could really make a difference.
Over the past few months, the staff and volunteer team behind STAMMA's new Training Services has been working with the global information services company Experian to change this. Working alongside a range of high-street businesses and service providers, Experian are developing a new tool for customers who don't fit into the standard 'boxes'.
Research conducted by Experian found that 73% of disabled people have put off contacting companies because it seemed too daunting to them. The research also revealed that disabled people, on average, will wait more than two months before contacting a company. The respondents cited feeling emotionally drained (37%), anxious (34%) and demoralised (27%) after interactions with organisations.
How familiar this sounds! At STAMMA we know all too well the challenges that people with speech differences face when it comes to contacting companies. Not being able to see the person you're speaking to and not knowing how they will react if you stammer can cause feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. And being rushed, spoken over or even hung up on can prevent people who stammer from just getting on with things.
At STAMMA we know all too well the challenges that people with speech differences face when it comes to contacting companies.
So, back to Experian. To help customers who stammer, as well as others, they've worked with organisations such as HSBC UK, Nationwide, Tesco Bank, NewDay, Co-operative Bank and Ovo to launch 'Support Hub'. Support Hub is free to you as a customer and works by letting you tell multiple companies at once how you want to be contacted and what they need to do so that you can access their services. This could include your preferred method of communication such as by letter, telephone or email, and other requirements such as needing a longer appointment.
You don't need to tell them that you stammer. You just look through the list of preferences on its website and tick off the ones you would like. You have complete control over which organisations the information is shared with, and you can change these preferences at any time.
Within Support Hub, these preferences are referred to as 'support needs'. They are organised under headers including 'my speech and language', 'my sight', 'my hearing', 'my mental health' and 'my dexterity and mobility'. The options for support needs under 'my speech and language include:
- Don't contact me by phone
- I need longer appointments
- Please give me time to respond
- Don't complete my sentences for me.
This list is still under development and STAMMA are working with Experian to broaden these options for customers who stammer.
We're thrilled to see the great strides big businesses are making in recognising the barriers people who stammer can face every day and we're very much looking forward to seeing how it progresses and for other businesses to join such a fantastic initiative.