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As Covid Spikes, What Should Financial Institutions Do?

Covid has likely had major implications on the way your financial institution operates and serves its customers on a day-to-day basis. Make sure you’re considering the following to ensure customer satisfaction during a tumultuous time.

Help Out and Listen

Make sure your organization is in tune with the stresses of your customers, and understand the different types of obstacles they might be facing in their financial lives.

Businesses. Make sure you understand the financial status of the businesses you serve, and have open conversations with them about their ability to continue to pay outstanding business loans. Help protect your financial organization against any potential downside or inability to pay from your clients while also being proactive about creative plans to help them stay afloat during a difficult time. Similarly, serve as an information resource for them and help them understand their options during difficult times.

Customers. Think about ways you can adjust your organization the make small exceptions that will go far for customers. Are there certain fees you can waive that you might normally charge for, such as overdraft charges? Are there information resources you can provide them related to setting up direct deposit for unemployment benefits? Think of ways you can go above and beyond for your customers to give them a hand up, especially if they’ve fallen on hard times.

Importantly, your organization needs to be more in tune with your customers than ever before, especially during a time of fluctuating financial legalities (e.g., the CARES Act), economic insecurity (potential lay-offs) and increased stress.

In particular, make sure you’re paying close attention to your social media. Look for changing customer behaviors, attitudes and concerns and make sure you’re addressing them frustrations as early as possible. Seemingly innocuous actions that may have flown under the radar in the past, such as overdraft charges, could potentially cause customers to become angry and affect your brand image.

Smartly Allocate Resources

Think about your in-person and virtual components of your organization, and how you can better allocate your human resources to meet the needs of your customers.

In particular, look at where your organization is being stressed. Specifically, many financial institutions are seeing an uptick in online engagement and phone time, while seeing a decrease in branch visits due to social distancing. With these changes, are there staff members you can utilize to re-allocate their time and attention away from your physical branch and instead have them assisting with your call center operations or digital strategy?

Budget and Adjust to Interest Rates

Make sure you understand how interest rates are affecting your business, especially in terms of cuts to interest rates, revenue implications and the status of business loans or mortgages you currently have with your customers. Think about opportunities you can present your clients with in terms of low interest rates to help drive revenue or refinance a mortgage, and make sure your organization is financial prepared for the road ahead.




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