New DMA guidelines to help contact centres manage vulnerable customers

28th Nov 2012

The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) is issuing new guidelines to help the UK’s 5,000 contact centres better deal with vulnerable customers.

The government-led campaign will provide telemarketing practical guidance on how to identify and manage a call with someone they believe is unable to make an informed decision, and help mangers train staff appropriately.  

Vulnerable customers could include those suffering with mental health issues and those with a limited understanding of the English language.

Guidelines for call centres dealing with vulnerable consumers was produced in conjunction with charities Alzheimer’s Society, Dementia Action Alliance and Rethink Mental Illness, as well as companies including BT, trueCall and nPower.

Elaine Lee, chair of the DMA Contact Centres & Telemarketing Council, said: “The marketing industry needs to increase its efforts to ensure that companies can identify vulnerable consumers and understand how best to meet their needs. However, it’s not easy to identify those within our communities who are vulnerable when selling at a distance.

Jeremy Hughes, CEO of Alzheimer’s Society, added: “Call centre staff may speak to people with dementia on a day-to-day basis so ensuring they can recognise the condition is vital. Someone with dementia may be confused during a call and sign up for a product they don’t need or can’t afford, which is bad for both the company involved and the person.”

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