Flexibility is not only appreciated, but demanded of businesses and consumers alike during COVID-19. Most individuals are seeing their lives drastically changed and are being forced to adapt. As a financial institution you should work to support your customers by adjusting to their new behaviors, aiding them through new processes and being a valuable and reliable partner in their financial health.
Adjust to Customers’ Changing Behaviors
At a high level, the average customer has changed the way they live, work, purchase and make decisions for their families. Consider some of the ways their lives have changed and how you can support the during this time.
- Life at home. Obviously, most Americans are spending more time at home. For some, this will include extra time that may be devoted to customers reviewing their financial lives and finding ways to help protect themselves during financial uncertainty. Be prepared to answer hard questions and have support systems in place to help educate your staff. In particular, think about questions around protecting customers in the short term, answering long-term questions about retirement and helping customers bridge the gap between a current loss of income and when they expect to get back on their feet.
- Work uncertainty. Customers might not know where their next paycheck is coming from, may be incurring expenses, and are undoubtedly feeling the macroeconomic effects of COVID-19. Think about creative ways you can support your customers, including forgiveness for late payments/overdrafts, tips about how they can protect their retirement, and information about what kinds of unemployment or other benefits they can receive. Additionally, be an information hub for your customers, including keeping them up-to-date on things like one-time payments and small business loans that can help them during this time.
The Changing Landscape of Corporate Social Responsibility
More than ever, customers have their eyes on corporations and organizations, wanting them to do the right thing when it comes to treating customers well, using their financial power responsibly, and protecting their employees. Understand that things you may have done in the past, including bonus payments, overdraft charges or even the ways you communicate with your customers may need to change given the circumstances.
Customers want support in unique and creative ways, and following the status quo has the possibility to make your financial institution look calloused and out-of-touch with current events. Review your communications with your clients — from promotional emails to text alerts — and make sure the way you’re speaking to them reflects current events.