Brands are defined by how they’re able to serve their customers during times of trouble and uncertainty. A financial institution that creates a meaningful relationship during a time when a customer is stressed or anxious about their financial future is able to transcend the typical business-customer relationship and become a more meaningful partner in that individual’s life.
Doing this with a wide breadth of customers makes you a unique brand that will have numerous advocates. Think about the following during this time of uncertainty, and ways you can deepen your relationship with your customers.
Let Customers Know About Options
At a high level, finances are tight for Americans across the board, and as a financial institution, you already know this. How can you help them out? First and foremost, think about information your can proactively communicate to them. For direct deposit aid information, give them a sense of how that process will work. If there are steps they can take to protect their finances, take the first step and let them know.
Proactive communication is free for your organization, and shows your care. Valuable, action-oriented content on your website or app is a great place to start.
Economic downturns have happened in the past, most recently in 2008. While each economic downturn is unique, there are lessons learned that can be applied. What will things look like in a year? What about three years? Give your customers this perspective, give them information to weather the storm, and provide hope through smart decision making and support now.
Most Americans are seeing a hit on their retirement savings, may be facing job uncertainty, and have likely changed their lifestyle in light of COVID-19. One of the most frustrating feelings is the inability to better one’s situation while external factors are making things difficult.
Think about ways you can create opportunities for action for your customers:
- Optimizing investments. Help your customers to guard against uncertainty, make sure their asset mix is properly allocated based on their age, and help those concerned about retirement adjust their plan moving forward.
- Cash liquidity. Make sure consumers understand all the options available to them in terms of having cash now that they can use for housing, loans, basic bills and groceries. Help them leverage ways to get cash now if they are in a pinch.
- Security at home. Whether renting or owning a home, most individuals’ primary concerns revolve around staying in their home and protecting dependents. Are there ways you can help with this? Are they able to potentially avoid paying rent or mortgage in light of recent moratoriums? As a financial institution, you are the information expert, and can help them navigate this landscape.
Be On The Same Team
More importantly than ever, now is a time when customers are looking for allies, both in the form of friends and family as well as any business dealings. Tempers may be short with customers who are under increased financial and emotional stress, but this uncertain time also provides an opportunity to prove your value to them as an organization. Think about ways you can go the extra mile:
- Coach staff. Understand that interactions may be atypical due to increased stress. Additionally, your organization may be functioning under a new set of rules due to social distancing. Make sure your staff is well-equipped to deal with this new setting, but also focus on their emotional behavior, and how they can turn a negative interaction incited by a customer into a positive one.
- Consider favors. Times are unusual, and many are suffering economically. Are there certain ways you can help your customers out, such as extending deadlines or forgiving fees? Think about ways you can do small and big favors for your customers while protecting your organization.