Bereaved Customers First

Our Bereaved Customers First campaign is working to stop people suffering needless emotional pain and stress when they contact businesses to tell them a loved one has died.

We’re calling on businesses to stop customers suffering needlessly

  • A YouGov survey of over 1,600 UK adults who notified businesses after the death of a family member or friend found that almost a third said it took them two weeks or longer to contact all the relevant companies to notify them of their loved one’s death. 12 per cent said it took longer than a month.
  • Almost three in ten bereaved people said the contacting all the relevant companies was not straightforward. Many said it was time consuming and stressful (39 per cent), upsetting (30 per cent) and traumatic (16 per cent).
  • When asked for the worst offenders, 13 per cent pointed the finger at banks and buildings societies and 8 per cent said utility companies including gas, electric and telephone companies.

Businesses can help their customers by putting in place the four ‘P’s’

Have a written plan that outlines how businesses will treat bereaved customers with empathy and respect.

Train staff and make sure everyone who comes into contact with bereaved people knows how to respond efficiently and with understanding.

Streamline your processes and procedures to be simple and pragmatic. Avoid unnecessary steps and repetition.

Ensure your paperwork is easy to follow and only asks for information that is needed. Pass on details of where people can get practical and emotional support.

Calling for a Bereavement Standard

Cruse is also working with account closure service Settld on the campaign for a Bereavement Standard. We are calling on the government to introduce a new set of agreed standards which commercial service providers would need to meet, making it easier to close down the accounts of someone who dies. We want to see:

  1. An agreed timeframe for companies to respond to bereavement enquiries and settle outstanding customer balances.
  2. Dedicated bereavement customer care channels for each company, and appropriately trained customer care staff, to handle such cases and avoid customers waiting on calls.
  3. The standardisation of paperwork needed to close an account, with a view to accepting digital documents (inc death certificates) whenever possible.