Whilst there has been significant focus on support for vulnerable customers and the bereaved as part of that, with recognition to be given to the cross-industry improvements and initiatives that have been implemented, the report provides a specific focus on the onerous nature of understanding and carrying out the numerous administrative tasks required after a death. Recommendation 4 of the report, which addresses this area, states: “61% of adult respondents with administrative responsibilities reported difficulties with at least one practical or administrative task” and “39% of respondents had difficulty sorting out financial affairs”. As suppliers to our customers, and by definition their families, next of kin, and executors, we all have an obligation to continue to review our services and processes to continue to develop and provide supported and easy-to-navigate assistance. Assistance which offers the customer their channel of choice and the ability to manage the process in their own time.
While our focus as service providers may centre around the findings related to questions that specifically result from the administration tasks, there is also important insight that we should take into account in other parts of the report. For instance, Recommendation 7 highlights: “More than 4 in 10 respondents to a question on financial difficulties (43%), told the commission that bereavement had resulted in financial difficulties for themselves or their family”. This is a significant number of our customers whose ability to financially interact with us, or now have a need to interact with us that wasn’t previously the case, will now need support to engage with us in a different way.
The solutions required may not always sit directly with us but by being aware of the challenges faced by millions each year, we can help to remove the burden. We can learn to understand the impacts and challenges and identify where to signpost our customers to be able to find the support or have the conversations they need. Forming partnerships with those that can help can only improve the support of the bereaved and start the journey to address the issues raised by the report.