To inform and empower consumers, and ensure that those who interact directly with our company receive fair and honest treatment.
As a credit reference agency Experian is obliged by law to provide a certain level of service to consumers, but we strive to exceed imposed standards, providing more information and more support as efficiently as possible. We assist enormous numbers of people. During the year our US and UK consumer support teams dealt with over 17 million consumer requests for a ‘statutory’ credit report. In Brazil, Serasa runs 62 “Citizen Guidance Service” offices across the country and in 2007 answered 9,500 financial questions from consumers and businesses every day. And we’re pushing hard to improve our service all the time, for example in the UK, we are expected to respond to statutory applications for credit reports within seven days. We beat this target, issuing them in an average of three days each.
We answer consumer’s direct questions – our ‘Ask Max’ web based column, now in its eleventh year, published 100 additional answers this year – and we produce printed and online material explaining key financial concepts and processes. This year we have revised many of these leaflets to make them more comprehensive and easier to understand. Finally, we work with others to extend our reach, conducting media interviews, sponsoring competitions and programmes to teach financial awareness, and working with consumer groups and money advisers. This year Experian even developed an interactive computer game to help young people learn how to manage money responsibly.
We also operate businesses targeted directly to consumers. As these businesses grow we canvass customers’ opinions about our services and use what we learn to improve. Our UK consumer service CreditExpert, had around 2million visits per month to its website over the year and handled and resolved queries relating to these visits through its contact centre. Weran an opinion survey contacting 3,000 consumers, which resulted in improvements to the view and navigation of our credit reports. A major improvement to our service in the US this year, in response to research and feedback, has been to address the issue of child identity fraud, protecting whole families from the anguish of identity theft.