Help us call on companies to improve the way they treat bereaved people

Can you help us pass the message on to companies, calling on them to treat bereaved people with the kindess and respect they deserve? Please feel free to send this letter from our CEO on to any organisations you feel might benefit.

I am writing to you today to urgently ask for your help. 

Throughout my time as Chief Executive at Cruse Bereavement Support, my team and I have seen time and time again that grieving people are being let down by companies across the UK. Let down at a time when they most need kindness and support. 

We’ve heard stories of people being sent letters from energy companies bluntly and in bold referring to their loved ones as ‘the deceased’, just weeks after their death. We’ve supported a man who had to separately notify 15 banks about their uncle’s death – with each bank needing different certification. And we’ve heard from those who spent hours being repeatedly refused entry into a loved one’s phone account as they weren’t the account holder. 

 The UK Commission on Bereavement working alongside charities like Cruse produced a set of recommendations. One of these calls on businesses to improve their processes, after 61% of their respondents reported struggling with death admin. 

Having to cope with the death of someone you love is hard enough but having the added stress of managing the administration when the process is cold and convoluted, can prevent them from being able to properly grieve, meaning they are left in limbo and with prolonged heartbreak.    

Being met with harsh language whether in paperwork or on the phone can bring back the trauma of losing the person they loved. Having to rely on the luck of speaking to a kind stranger on the other end of the phone who can empathise with what they’re going through, is not good enough.  

 I’m asking you to join Cruse and our colleagues across the bereavement sector to ensure grieving people are given the respect and kindness they deserve. We know it can be difficult and uncomfortable to approach the topic of death and not everyone feels like they know what to say, and that’s why we want to help you. 

 As a first step, I hope that you will accept that change needs to happen. We’d like to meet with you or your team to help make the changes so bereaved people receive the caring and thoughtful approach they deserve. 

 We have experts who can help you and your team offer the kindest process possible. We can train your customer service staff on the right language to use, help you to make small changes to your documentation, for example to only require death certificates when absolutely necessary and help streamline your customer journeys to ensure those already struggling can get what they need as simply as possible. 

This will not only help people accessing your services every day but will show your commitment to supporting grieving people.  

I look forward to hearing from you. 

Steven Wibberley 

Cheif Executive, Cruse Bereavement Support