Jenny’s story of access & independence

These profiles have been created after research with real customers in vulnerable situations. All names have been changed.

There are many parallels with the life of a refugee settling in a new country and people using financial or utility services for the first time. Here’s an example of a customer that requires your service to feel consistent, joined-up and accessible.
Jenny works with refugees resettling to the UK, helping them establish themselves and access vital public services such as accommodation, healthcare and benefits. Her clients face a battery of challenges: disconnected services, inconsistent requirements and inflexible processes. Navigating this complex world requires dedicated support.

How could you design inclusively for Jenny?

Ask yourself:

What level of literacy do you expect from your customers?

Many services are designed with an expectation of a certain level of literacy, whether digital or linguistic. New arrivals may be unable to read or write even in their native language, or are digitally illiterate; the same is true of many UK-based individuals. Confusing communications, complex terms and conditions and a lack of human support all act as barriers.

Does your service feel familiar compared to other services?

Varied customer experience across services means that no two application processes are the same: data requirements are different, forms are different, the method of submitting the information is different. It makes it even harder to navigate.

What level of financial education do you require from your customers?

New arrivals often have ground-level issues with money and budgeting. In the most extreme cases, refugees arrive from rural villages or refugee camps where the currency is food parcels or vouchers. Learning basic skills around money management and budget allocation quickly becomes crucial.

Is your experience consistent?

Policies and processes are rarely consistent, even within the same organisation. Consistency in experience and expectation is vital for customers, whether new to the UK or otherwise.

Who are your vulnerable customers?

Meet Amy