Kickstarter Patrick Davies shares his story
Administration Assistant on the Money Matters team, Patrick Davies, talks about the challenges he has overcome in recent years and how this experience has helped him empathise with our customers.
“Prior to working for Wrekin, I operated in a similar role where empathy was non-existent. I’d always try to diffuse the situation with clients who were struggling but that approach wasn’t shared by other colleagues or managers. This meant that there was no wiggle room for customers and limited support when they were struggling, as mental health first aid was only ever accessible to staff, but never customers.
“A little down the line, I was made redundant and that really gave me a greater insight into how others must feel during these challenging times. It seemed to be one thing after another, I was kicked out of the house and homeless for a year. It was a really difficult time for me because I just had to prioritise keeping safe, my phone was cut off too which just made things even more problematic. To be honest it felt like my whole world was crashing down and I didn’t know what to do.
“Luckily for me I had the support of family and friends who really helped me through this difficult period, but it made me empathise with others who aren’t so lucky to have that support system in place.
“Starting to work for Wrekin was a huge turning point for me and has helped me get back on my feet. The culture here is amazing, completely different from my previous roles. At Wrekin we are able to provide genuine support and direct customers to charities who can help too – whether it’s offering food parcels or mental health support, whatever it is we can help. Here we have the customer’s interest at the forefront of our minds.
“It makes me feel a lot better knowing that support is there for both staff and customers, where mental health is prioritised. Working 1-to-1 with customers allows me to provide advice that helped me when I was struggling and I think that makes it easier to connect with them. I think simply being allowed to slow down the process gives tenants a chance to understand what is happening and how we can help.
“At Wrekin we can also support customers if they need help with other external services, such as claiming benefits or PIP allowance, we can help to speed up the process, get the answers that customers need and put the customer’s mind at ease, that’s so important for us.
“We do find that many of our tenants are reluctant to get debt advice, because it’s difficult to admit that you need help. We’ve understood that and in response changed the system to support clients by asking them ‘What is your goal?’ making this small adjustment allows us to engage our customers and help them on their journey to financial freedom.
“From here, we can come up with a long-term realistic plan together which supports our customers. However, we think it’s really important to go at the pace of the customer and direct them to mental health support services, should they need it. Over time, we want to build trust with our customers and make them feel comfortable to talk with us. Once they are referred to our services we get in contact within 48 hours and look to book an appointment with them, whether that be over the phone, on Microsoft Teams or in person so that we’re more easily accessible for all.
For more interviews with members of the Money Matters Team, you can read about Dan’s experience here and to find out more about how our Money Matters Team can help you, please click here.
9th June 2021