Head of Customer Experience, HSBC UK
People’s circumstances change, and when dementia is the cause, those people can become vulnerable. Businesses – especially banks, who deal with sensitive, personal, financial information – must be prepared to adapt.
Successful adaptation needs a business-wide desire to help those with dementia. Internal dementia awareness sessions can build colleagues’ understanding of the disease and even position them as Dementia Friends, an initiative founded by Alzheimer’s Society. This is particularly important for customer-facing staff who are keen to help clientele, whatever their situation.
Improved understanding of dementia also allows businesses to develop innovative, tailored product ranges to support their customers with new solutions.
Staying connected to your bank
It’s imperative that customers whose circumstances change, continue to feel they’re able to talk to their bank. Our ‘Managing money with dementia’ guide was developed with Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer Scotland and is available in all branches and online. By working directly with people impacted by dementia, we agreed an approach within the banking industry and built an understanding of how we could help. The guide draws together useful banking services, helping people living with dementia understand how they can stay connected to their financial service providers.
Benefits to colleagues
Colleagues are often driven by the opportunity to learn and develop in order to better serve their community, and the positive impact of dementia awareness training shouldn’t be understated. Being able to recognise and understand dementia, and then being able to provide the help and support needed, must be key.
The pride people feel in initiatives like this encourages them to spread the word of Dementia Friends and motivated a great deal of involvement in other areas of our three-year partnership with Alzheimer’s Society, such as fundraising. Our colleagues are hiking, biking and baking to hit our £3 million fundraising target to support the charity.
Making a difference
Customers should be at the heart of any organisation. By working with Alzheimer’s Society, businesses can deliver new initiatives, working directly with people living with dementia to understand how to make a real difference.
Often, the result will be unexpectedly far-reaching. By becoming more dementia-friendly, organisations become more customer-friendly, providing greater support for their customers when they need them the most.