Bringing the voice of your customers into your boardroom and working practices

Why Refresher Training Is Important


A person writing on a post-it notes attached to a board during a training session

The Consumer Duty requirements from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) are now just weeks away from the first implementation date for new and current products and with it brings a renewed focus on vulnerable customers. FCA regulated firms are now required to ensure that vulnerable customers receive the same ‘good’ outcomes as non-vulnerable customers and firms must be able to evidence this. 

If firms are to be able to demonstrate that they are meeting this requirement, they first have to be able to recognise customers in vulnerable circumstances. In their Financial Lives survey in 2022, the FCA reported that two in five vulnerable customers are not being recognised until it's too late. Since the report there has been a flurry of activity with software providers creating or further developing solutions being able to identify the signs of vulnerabilities across contacts, alongside training of customer facing staff. Some firms have opted for the technology solution as it will provide an ongoing assessment, and they’re fearful that training may improve recognition in the short term, but the impact of training will start to diminish over time. 

If this is the case, why do firms run training, and how can we ensure that the training is impactful in the long-term? 

Here at RBL we advocate that this kind of training (recognising vulnerabilities) should be done as a live training event rather than as e-learning as it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution – see our blog which looks at the pros and cons of face-to-face training vs e-learning. We also believe that training of customer facing teams should not be viewed as being a once-and-done activity, and teams benefit from regular refresher training. 

What’s refresher training? 

Firstly, let’s be clear, refresher training is not simply repeating a training session that the team has already received. Refresher training is coaching or teaching on a specific subject that learners have already encountered. Learners coming into a refresher training session are approaching the topic from a much more informed perspective than at their initial training session. Refresher training is designed to jog the memory and to provide updates on the latest information since the previous training session, it should boost knowledge and the confidence of team members. It should also inspire team members to build on their skills and deliver an improved impact and outcome for customers. 

Done well it provides an opportunity to explore how the original training has impacted on service delivery and to address any unexpected challenges that have arisen. It’s a great opportunity to look back and see what has gone well and where further improvements can be made. Therefore, refresher training should be tailored drawing out the key areas of focus that are relevant to each group of learners. To find out what each group needs to focus on, we refer to the data which should be available with CRM systems and management reporting. Looking at the data allows us to take an objective view on what to include.

Why is refresher training important?

Refresher training with ongoing support and coaching delivers increased efficiency, reduces mistakes and the risk of making mistakes. It fosters a culture of continuous learning, development and improvement and can rebalance the learning and knowledge across team members, ensuring that the standard is lifted for all.

How often should refresher training take place? 

We’re big advocates of regular refresher training on recognising vulnerabilities and making reasonable adjustments and recommend to our clients that refresher training should take place every six months or at least annually. And that’s our view based on our experience of running customer service teams and contact centres over the last 30+ years. 

However, we wanted to understand how other firms look at refresher training, so we decided to run a poll across a number of LinkedIn focus groups and across other social media platforms to get a wider opinion. We asked:

“How often do you refresh your training for customer facing teams on recognising vulnerability?”  

The options were:

  • Every Quarter
  • Every 6 Months
  • Annually 
  • Haven’t yet / Not Planned / Never

The results make for interesting reading with two-thirds of respondents agreeing with us that training should be refreshed every 6-12 months. It seems that annually is the cycle that most firms are refreshing their training on recognising vulnerability (61.5% of respondents) – see the chart below. 

What we found surprising was that more than one-fifth of respondents haven’t done any refresher training, haven’t planned to yet or will never refresh their customer facing teams on how to recognise vulnerabilities. Bearing in mind the recent report from the Institute of Customer Service, showing that 44% of customer facing staff “are contemplating leaving their roles” due to increasing abuse from an increasing number of customers experiencing financial vulnerability caused by the cost-of-living crisis (see our blog on that here)

For those firms who are yet to run refresher training or hadn’t planned to do so, we urge you to look again at that and to build your training plan with both initial and refresher sessions. If you need any help with your planning then please get in touch, our team of friendly consultants and trainers can work with you to get a plan in place and deliver some training for you, if required. With an average 4.8 / 5 rating our team receive incredible feedback from our clients.  

Jacqui Workman


Photo by Jo Szczepanska at Unsplash

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