COVID-19: An Opportunity to Connect

Let’s be real: There are a lot of negatives to to Covid-19. Many small businesses are struggling, as are individuals, especially those who have lost their job or seen their income reduced. And, perhaps worst of all, as a financial institution, you’re privy to some of the financial struggles of your customers and seeing their balance sheet being squeezed in real time.

However, any strong organization needs to recognize the opportunity at hand — the opportunity to connect, inform your customers, and provide value extending beyond the typically transactional nature of business as usual. Consider the following ways you can connect with your customers in a meaningful, substantial way.

Coach For Excellence

The employees of your financial institution are having to learn new skills on the fly as your organization adopts. These skills might seem like an “adjustment,” but treating them as such opens the door for inefficiency, lack of understanding and ignores the impact each touchpoint has on your organization’s bottom line.

Whether an employee is working in a newly-social-distanced branch setting, or perhaps a digital support person is learning new Covid-19 protocol, your organization should take this chance to train for excellence, helping employees understand their new responsibilities and showing them how to provide the utmost care for your customers.

Think about your training in these different ways:

  • Training employees for new skills. Learning a lot of new tasks and skills at once is difficult. Make sure your leadership team has a clearly defined training agenda and the training staff to support your employees.
  • Training customers for changes. One of the nuances of Covid-19 is that your customers’ experiences are shifting quickly as well. Your employees need to learn how to be coaches themselves – how to clearly explain new protocols, technologies and the reasoning behind these changes to your customers.
  • Train for emotional intelligence. Perhaps most importantly of all, your employees need to be emotionally responsive to the stress your customers are feeling. New protocols added to underlying financial stress create the potential for emotions to boil over when working with your financial institution. Prove to your customers that you’re on their team, and make sure your employees know how to address adverse reactions.

Actively Inform and Engage

Make sure your employees ask proactive questions to your customers, like if they understand new protocol, if they need special accommodations for their financial situations, an how they’re feeling about their finances and their relationship with your organization.

Covid-19 is unpredictable and stressful, but for that reason, it also opens the door for a more intimate relationship with your customer. Think about ways your organization can go above-and-beyond to make sure they understand new processes, feel appreciated, and are shown flexibility in order to help protect their financial lives. Showing the level of commitment enhances your relationship with your customers and pivots your financial institution from a transactional vendor to a trusted partner.

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