Millions of people struggle to interact with many businesses we rely upon every day. For those with a disability or who need specific support, it can be challenging to contact and deal with essential service providers.
Barriers to services
Nearly three-quarters of disabled people have hesitated to contact essential service providers because the process seemed too daunting. The consequences of these delays mean individuals are missing out on vital support and crucial information.
Disabled people wait an average of 82 days — more than two months — before reaching out to essential service providers. The reasons behind this delay are extensive, with more than a third feeling emotionally drained, 34% experiencing anxiety, and 27% left demoralized after interacting with companies.
The repercussions of these delays are far-reaching, affecting every aspect of life. Over half (52%) said they would have spent this time resting or sleeping without anxiety if they could have it back, while 28% said their finances had been negatively impacted due to difficulties in contacting essential services. Yet just 19% have requested support from service providers, which indicates the scale of the problem.
Disabled people are less likely to switch service providers across various sectors such as credit cards, savings accounts, energy suppliers and TV subscriptions. Only 28% have switched credit cards, compared to 36% of those without access needs.
This is not just an isolated issue. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) estimates that 7.4 million people have struggled to contact their service providers, with the most vulnerable in society facing the greatest challenges.
Having identified this significant issue, Experian, in collaboration with some of the UK’s largest companies (including HSBC UK, Nationwide Building Society, Tesco Bank, NewDay, Co-operative Bank, and Ovo) has introduced the Support Hub.
The service, the culmination of over three years of work, aims to provide a single one-stop portal for consumers to communicate their needs to multiple businesses in a consistent, standardised way.
Via a free simple sign-up process, people can share their needs quickly, whether that be the need for communications in braille, or the need to have longer face-to-face appointments. It doesn’t require consumers to disclose their disability, instead, it focuses on the support they require from the organisations they use. Users maintain complete control over what information is shared and with whom.
Support Hub wouldn’t exist without the close collaboration of the partners, those with lived experience, disability experts and charities, all of which have been involved in the development of the service. By including those with real-life insight and lived experiences of those who face these challenges every day, Support Hub will help those who have previously felt frustrated by their experiences of dealing with providers get on with their lives.
We are at the start of the journey. But as more businesses join Support Hub from multiple sectors, more and more people will be able to enjoy a level of service which they have previously been denied.
You can find out more about Support Hub by visiting supporthub.experian.co.uk
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