2020 was a difficult year for business owners, employees and the entire financial world. Beyond the public health crisis ensuing from Covid-19, the economic engine of the world was hampered by restrictions limiting interpersonal interaction.
Now, in 2021, your new and existing customers are dealing with the the effects of this economic lag, even as restrictions continue the lighten through 2021. As a financial institution, you should view this as an opportunity to truly serve your customers, help them through a difficult time, and creating a lasting impression that will differentiate your organization.
Varying Effects of Covid-19
From a financial perspective, Covid-19 produced a wide array of financial effects on various industries. While e-commerce survived and even thrived in many cases, restaurants and airlines were hit hard. These effects trickle down to employees and had a similarly varying effect, ranging from bonuses to layoffs and economic hardship. Needless to say, the health effects of Covid-19 have devastated some families, and while the situation is improving, it is, unfortunately, not over.
Think about these unique scenarios and the different economic and mental trials your customers may be experiencing. Each situation is different, and you will need to make sure your universal banker staff are well-equipped to navigate not only the various financial situations of your customers, but also help navigate what could be tense emotional states.
Many individuals are still struggling financially, and may be behind on bills, mortgages, business expenses or credit card payments. As their financial institution, consider your role as a proactive partner in helping them avoid financial crises.
Anything your organization can do to come up with flexibility of payment plans, forgiveness and allocating resources to help will go a long way toward showing your customers you’re committed to them in a way that will likely gain lifelong loyalty.
Being a Trusted Partner
In a time when there is a lot of anxiety around finances, some individuals carry that anxiety toward their financial institutions. Additionally, that anxiety can even turn to animosity as money becomes tight.
Try to differentiate yourself from the pack by positioning yourself less as an enforcing body, and more as a helpful consultant. Try to align yourself with your customers, and let them know you’re on their side, and want them to be in a financially healthy position.
Importantly, make sure your organization is identifying common scenarios of financial trouble, and have systems in place to address those issues.
For example, if your customers are behind on business loan payments, have a plan to address the issue, possibly restructure the payment plan, and come up with win-win scenarios. Once those plans are in place, make sure your staff is well educated on those topics and can present solutions to customers as they arise.