Standard Life Assurance is urging customers to use its online support and services where possible to help it support more vulnerable customers who may need to use its phone services during the coronavirus outbreak.
An email sent out on behalf of Susan McInnes, chief executive of Standard Life Assurance, says moving office-based operations staff to work from home, combined with some staff being ill or absent, “is inevitably impacting normal service levels”.
“We’ve all seen examples of people coming together to support the vulnerable and less able across the country,” it says. “At Standard Life we are no different.
“We all want to support those most in need, and with that in mind, I’m making a personal plea to all our customers to use our online support and services as much as you can, and help us keep our phone service free for those who need us most.
“Many of our customers are using our comprehensive online service to check their values, access their money and make payments.
“We’re seeing more and more customers login online and use our secure message service to do the things they would normally do over the phone.
“If you’re not already using this, it’s quick and easy to set up.”
A Standard Life spokeswoman added: “Understandably, many of our customers are getting in touch with questions about their savings and looking for guidance on a number of things in the current circumstances.
“We’ve been updating our website with information we hope will be useful to our customers and will continue to do so.
“These are exceptional times and we are asking customers to use our online services as far as possible, to enable us to support our more vulnerable customers who may need to speak on the phone.”
Several banks and building societies have temporarily cut down on branch opening hours and the number of branches remaining open in recent days as they try to help limit the impact of coronavirus on staff and their customers.
Some banks have been directing customers to use phone and digital services where possible.
The email added: “When it comes to your investments, I understand that some of our customers may be concerned. Covid-19 has had a significant impact on global markets. As a result, many investments, including those held in pension plans, have seen reductions in value.
“But major events causing markets to fall, particularly in the short term, is something we’ve seen before.
“And while it’s likely that markets will continue to be impacted over the coming months, history has repeatedly shown that they tend to rally over the longer term.”