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Fireside Chat with Karen Stewart: Embedding Vulnerability in Business

We are all potentially vulnerable at some stage in our lives be it a life event like redundancy or a bereavement through to our own health. 

Consumer duty is all about delivering good outcomes for all customers and vulnerability is mentioned more that 100 times in the final paper so from a regulatory aspect, it’s critical.  We have never been driven by regulation alone and we have a market leading strategy and societal responsibility behind our approach.

Customer facing colleagues are key when it comes to supporting customers in vulnerable circumstances however we recognise the need to really embed vulnerability consideration into everything we do and into our product, proposition and communication deign.  If we don’t embed consideration at this earlier stage, our customer facing colleagues will always be met with customers struggling to engage with our products and services.

Our approach to embedding vulnerability consideration is key to helping us achieve good customer outcomes and our approach has been to embed a framework supported by principles and standards as well as a three pronged approach to training which has allowed us to bring vulnerability to life for our colleagues and to help close the empathy gap for colleagues fortunate enough to have not been impacted by vulnerability or an accessibility challenge.

Karen Stewart, Vulnerable Customer Centre of Excellence - Snr Consultant at Standard Life is very passionate about her work, she shared her wonderful story at the 2023 Customer Engagement Transformation Conference, which is a not to miss!



Karen Stewart

Karen Stewart

Standard Life Vulnerable Customer Centre of Excellence - Snr Consultant

Bringing external vulnerability experience from previous roles in the energy sector, Karen initially led the Vulnerable Customer Programme in 2022 before moving to create and lead the new Vulnerable Customer Centre of Excellence.  

The Centre of Excellence purpose is to support noncustomer facing colleagues with practical application of principles and standards and to develop market & thought leadership through collaboration and best practice.  Always striving to deliver excellence in vulnerability consideration, Karen also leads a team of 20+ senior leaders in a vulnerability champion capacity to ensure vulnerability is embedded into our DNA right across our business.

Karen plays an active part in external collaboration bodies including the CCA and Collaboration Network where she is also a member of the Vulnerability Champions working group as well as working with Cowry Consulting to achieve distinction in their Behavioural Science Masterclass.

Martin Hill-Wilson

Martin Hill-Wilson

Brainfood Consulting Founder
I'm a customer engagement and digital business strategist. Also an author and international keynote speaker. Working under my own brand, Brainfood Consulting, I design masterclasses and transformational change helping clients evolve their social and digital capabilities. Current topics include omni-channel design, proactive, low effort customer experience, social customer service and customer hubs. All themed around service innovation.

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