Echo Logo

The Debt Stigma: 50% of adults feel they can't ask for help

The Debt Stigma

New research reveals worrying findings when it comes to the UK debt stigma and consumer reluctance to ask service providers for help...

More than half (52%) of people feel there is a negative stigma attached to asking for help if they fall into debt, according to new research we recently conducted.

The study surveyed 1,000 UK residents on their experiences, knowledge and attitudes to household arrears. 

It found that 59% of customers attribute this debt stigma to societal stereotyping and their own feelings of shame, embarrassment or inadequacy. A further 36% blame the practices used by their service providers for making them feel that way and the remainder stated it was a combination of both factors. 

Those respondents who felt that service providers were at fault highlighted a tendency for advisors to be ‘offhand’ or ‘aggressive’ in their communication; often making assumptions about the customer’s background or why they had fallen into debt.

Why Negative Debt Stigma

Furthermore, when asked whether (throughout the debt recovery process) customers felt valued by their service provider, a worrying picture emerged. Only a quarter (25%) of customers felt valued, while 60% of people said that they did not feel valued as a customer – a figure which has jumped up by 12% since similar research was undertaken in 2016.

“Understandably, falling behind on payments can be a very stressful time, so it is concerning that so many people may feel too embarrassed to ask for help; something which may further compound the issue. Debt affects a huge cross-section of people, for many different reasons, so it’s crucial that service providers work hard to understand the issues of every single individual and help them to find a balanced resolution."

Monica Mackintosh, customer services director, Echo Managed Services

The findings also highlight just how important it is for organisations to stand out as approachable and helpful. Ensuring all communications convey this is vital; across verbal and written contact, as well as the general tone of information available on a company’s website. Reflecting on current practice and being more customer-centric can help organisations to both minimise customer debt and its effect on their reputation.

Share this article

More in the Knowledge Centre

More News

News

A quarter of UK residents would turn a blind eye to energy theft

What does the UK think about energy theft? Read to find out the latest studies, statistics and opinions on this...

READ
News

Echo takes billing software global with first Australian water sector client

Victoria-based Coliban Water chooses Aptumo as its new customer billing software solution...

READ
News

Echo digs deep to help Acorns Children’s Hospice

Echo launches its new employee volunteering scheme, creating a new stimulating outdoor area for Acorns Children's Hospice...

READ
News

Consumer debt: 1/3 of customers happy for service providers to share personal data

More than a third of UK consumers would be happy for service providers to share their personal data with other...

READ

More on Debt Recovery & Revenue Management

News

A quarter of UK residents would turn a blind eye to energy theft

What does the UK think about energy theft? Read to find out the latest studies, statistics and opinions on this...

READ
Blog

Spotting the signs of Energy Theft

Lloyd Birkhead discusses the growing danger of Energy Theft, the signs of meter tampering and how to prevent this.

20 November 2018 by Lloyd Birkhead

READ
Case Study

Revenue protection: supporting the fight against energy theft

How Echo's wholly owned field services agency, Grosvenor Services Group, supports one of the UK's big six energy providers in...

READ
Research & Resources

Energy Theft: A Focus on Consumer Awareness & Attitudes

When it comes to energy theft, understanding and acting on public perceptions could better inform strategies to build consumer awareness...

READ

Choose how you want to get in touch with us

Pick up the phone and call us...

0845 12 12 122

CALL

...or simply email us for a quick response.