Establishing strong customer relationships is paramount to long-term success as a financial services institution. Customers want to trust their banks and financial advisors to handle their money, data and accounts responsibly. But COVID-19’s influence on the economy, stock market, and employment rates has put customers on edge. It’s up to financial services institutions to build and maintain strong customer relationships through COVID-19 that can extend beyond the end of the current recession and into a new period of economic growth. Not sure where to start? Here are five simple ways financial services companies can strengthen customer relationships during COVID-19.
In the face of growing unemployment rates and increased consumer risk aversion, banks may want to avoid pushing credit or loan products as many of these products require income in order to qualify. Instead, update current products to include financial assistance or update terms and conditions to reflect the possibility of COVID-influenced hardships. This could mean postponing mortgage payments and moving them to the end of term periods, or waiving overdraft and service fees on a case-by-case basis.
Answer your customers’ pressing questions.
Consumers are likely to have questions about their money, payments, or loan options during COVID-19. Enable online chat capabilities, easy online customer service tools, and make sure your team is ready to respond to your customers’ urgent questions. Establish your company as a thought leader by providing educational blogs and resources on your site instead of promotional content. For example, if you’re a loan servicer for Federal loans, contextualize how 0% interest rates can benefit your customers and decrease principal balances. Or if you frequently work with small businesses, create free online educational resources about how to navigate the Paycheck Protection Program and effectively use disbursed funding.
Proactively engage with customers.
It’s not enough to create relevant, engaging content; you need to effectively market to your customers with personalized messaging and tailored recommendations. Empathetically supporting your customers through COVID-19 is a unique opportunity to develop long-term relationships. Start by segmenting your existing customer relationship management database into groups with similar interests, demographics, or previous purchasing patterns. Then deliver your message across all channels (including email, social, on your website, etc.) to create a superior customer experience.
Think outside the marketing box.
Don’t be afraid to try something new to engage with your customers. The non-stop stream of bad news has left people searching for a bright spot in their day. Avionos client First Midwest Bank recognized this need and launched a “Feel Good” campaign filled with stories of how local businesses are helping their communities during COVID-19. See an example from their campaign here.
Encourage safe practices.
Wherever possible, encourage customers to use ATMs, mobile, and online banking. These contactless banking options can decrease exposure to germs and help customers comply with social distancing guidelines. Be sure that best practices and FAQs for these virtual banking options are displayed prominently on your website to decrease customer service calls. Adapting quickly and effectively to changing customer needs is key to maintaining strong relationships throughout COVID-19. Looking to uplevel your marketing strategy or use your CRM to make data-driven decisions for your team? Learn more about our work with financial services institutions here.