Strengthen Customer Relationships in Uncertain Times
by Christopher Young
posted on 03-24-2020
As we all adjust to new ways of living and working in light of COVID-19, maintaining customer relationships becomes an absolute must—especially in financial services.
Indeed, understanding your customers’ needs has never been more important. COVID-19 has disrupted normal habits, created a sense of urgency, and fundamentally changed why customers are interacting with you. Every mobile and website interaction represents someone who has a specific and immediate need. In order to respond quickly, you need an acute awareness of what that need is. It could be someone checking to see that they can get cash at the ATM, or someone starting a loan application to supplement lost income. Perhaps it is a customer attempting to use your mobile app for the first time to deposit a check remotely. Understanding your customer’s context is critical to serving them well.
In addition, make sure your information is reflecting the current situation. This includes understanding how the virus is impacting different regions. Use your data and AI to detect anomalies in customer behavior and view it in context of what you are learning in the news. And lastly, give more people in your organization access to information, so they can respond as quickly as possible.
As consumers grow more worried about COVID-19 and an extremely volatile market, both short and long-term financial concerns increase. If you proactively reach out to them with support, you can help with immediate challenges and avoid irreparable long-term mistakes. Use customer data to make your messages personal and relevant to their specific needs and financial circumstances. And increase the frequency and speed of your communication across all channels, sending messages that help to:
- Ease their concerns about access to money by letting them know your branch locations and hours, and even when ATMs will be restocked.
- Provide helpful educational content, like budgeting tools on how to stretch their savings with reduced income or how to change investment strategies in a potential recession.
- Educate them about the potential for fraud as more bad actors attempt to gain access to their accounts and financial information.
- Reinforce all the ways you can help.
We all need a sense of community. But it becomes especially difficult in times of social distancing and quarantining in the safety of our homes. Fortunately, local banks, credit unions, and financial advisors have always played a role in creating and maintaining those valuable connections.
Think of new ways you can support your local communities and individual customers. A wealth management firm in the UK is arranging food deliveries for their elderly customers who can’t leave home. And Bank of America is pausing mortgage payments for those in need.
Make it possible for your front-line bankers, agents, and advisors to share curated content and to engage with customers in social channels, so they feel connected even though they can’t be there in person. And consider new ways of interacting, such as video conferencing and virtual events, so customers stay connected to your brand and to each other.
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According to Forrester, more than two thirds of online adults use a desktop or laptop for online banking at least once a month. (Canada: 76 percent, US: 74 percent, UK: 69 percent). This means most financial institutions have customers who’ve rarely or never managed their money online. This could lead to increased call center volume and can potentially stop people new to online banking from doing business with you all together.
Look at this time as an opportunity to increase digital adoption by both digital and non-digital users. Provide educational content, tutorials, and guides that explain how to access accounts, set-up online bill pay, use your mobile app, or submit claims. You can also make paying without cash—or contact—as easy as possible.
And if social distancing and branch closures continue for an extended time, your customer facing staff may need to rely more on digital to serve your customers, which can speed interactions and enable work to happen anywhere. If you already have these tools, offer training to build your employees’ confidence—and their customer relationships.
Connect with your peers
Right now, every organization is under pressure to openly communicate with and guide their customers. These challenges are compounded by the need to reorient and maintain operations. We understand this well at Adobe, as we face these challenges alongside our communities of customers and partners. We’re all in this together and would like to help you cover your bases so you can remain flexible and adaptable. You can connect with your peers in the Experience League Community.
While the current situation prevents us from coming together in person, we are excited to host Adobe Summit as an all-digital experience, complete with keynotes by Adobe leaders, product announcements and demos, and more than one hundred breakouts hosted by industry experts. Join us March 31 to talk about the future of customer experience, learn about the latest product and platform innovations, and get inspired together as a community. It’s free — sign up now.
Topics: Digital Transformation, Financial Services, News, COVID-19