Crisis support service Lifeline saw a spike in calls relating to the coronavirus outbreak, with call volumes exceeding those seen during the summer's bushfire crisis. During the bushfires, the number of calls increased to an average of 2,750 a day. During March, Lifeline experienced a further 20 per cent increase on their usual call volumes with the most common reasons for contact being stress over financial pressures, and anxiety or the health of themselves or a loved one. Lifeline highlighted the risk of people with existing mental health concerns being particularly vulnerable without being able to access some of the usual coping mechanisms such as socialising and exercise.
The issue of ‘vulnerability’, always to be a key theme for SOCAP this year, has become increasingly pertinent as the year unfolds. The impact of Coronavirus is adding further levels of stress to the community and for many a loss of income, overall health and welfare and safety. The flow-on effect to the industry cannot be denied as complaints handling professionals are met with more distressed customers facing vulnerable circumstances such as financial risk, hardship and health and welfare issues.
Join industry leaders from ACCC, NDIS, CBA, Suncorp, Telstra, and more at the Inaugural Virtual SOCAP Customer Vulnerability Forum on May 27. We now know that vulnerability is a dynamic state, which is affected by personal factors, life events and wider environmental, economic circumstances or relationships, including those between customers and their service providers, which is particularly relevant at this time.
Sessions available live and on demand, and the forum program also includes a live interactive workshop on identifying vulnerability behaviours.