*Craig Walker, Collections Manager at Zopa, explains how Zopa’s highly trained teams support customers who are struggling with their mental health *
According to a survey by Money and Mental Health, 1.5 million people in the UK experience mental health and debt issues simultaneously. The two are closely and intricately linked, with one often making the other worse and leading to a circle of worry and anxiety.
We know that if you’re suffering with mental health issues, you may find it difficult to get in touch with us. And we also understand that anxiety can become so overwhelming that you want to avoid the situation all together. This is actually a normal reaction, but it’s not the one which will make things better.
Here are some of the things we hope will make getting in touch with us easier:
Zopa staff are trained to be extraordinary listeners
Zopa’s Collections team attend empathy workshops to ensure that we’re able to make you feel as comfortable as possible talking to us during this difficult time. The training is followed up regularly, so we’re confident that you’ll always be dealing with someone who feels comfortable in the situation.
They’re also highly knowledgeable about different mental health conditions from our regular in-house workshops. And our Sensitive Case team, who will speak to our most vulnerable customers, are put through specialised training so they know how to support people and signpost them to the help they need.
Our targets are around doing right by people, not pounds
It used to be that collections staff had targets for how many pounds they collected. That’s not usually the case now, and it’s definitely not the case at Zopa. Instead, the team’s objectives are to listen, understand, and deliver the best outcome possible for you.
Remember - things aren’t like they used to be
The historic behavior of aggressive, unempathetic debt collectors has caused a lot of damage, both to the already-distressed people they contacted then and in creating a legacy of fear for today’s customers.
Thankfully, those days of bad practice are a distant memory. But the years of hardline collections activity has left a monumental mountain to climb before consumers feel truly comfortable disclosing mental health issues. We’re trying to tackle that.
So, what can you expect if you call Zopa?
When you call Zopa we’ll first try to understand your situation. If you decide to make the brave decision to let the team know of your situation, then they’ll listen and ask questions to better understand your circumstances.
If you need help, our team will signpost you to organisations such as PayPlan | Free Debt Advice and Free Debt Management. IVAs & DMPs to obtain free, impartial debt advice. Our Sensitive Case handlers will look to direct people with poor mental health to www.mind.org. They will guide you towards organisations who can assist you in receiving advice and support no matter how big or small you feel your situation may be.
Here at Zopa we acknowledge that customers who are suffering with poor mental health may find it difficult to communicate with us over the phone. We completely understand why that might be the case. As a result, we’ve decided to incorporate Live Chat, where you can instantly message our Sensitive Case Team who will be able to support you without having to pick up the phone. Our customers can easily find our Live Chat link within their Zopa App.
At Zopa we do everything we can to create an environment where our customers feel comfortable to discuss the impact their mental health issues are having on their ability to manage their finances. I’m proud to be working for a company who takes its customers’ mental health so seriously.