As COVID-19 has impacted businesses and individuals globally, we’ve all been forced to pivot. While working remotely has helped flatten the curve and kept us safe, it has made it more difficult to maintain a connection with customers. Even though you can’t meet with them physically, it’s more important than ever to demonstrate your institution’s dedication to your customers.
This article will explore best practices for connecting and communicating with your customers while working remotely.
Maintain customer care
While consumers have continued the trend towards digital banking, people will still want to connect through familiar channels. With many companies hosting their call centers on-premise, it’s likely most will shift to call automation and chatbots where possible to handle increased call volumes.
As always, but especially with new recruits and systems, it’s important to ensure rapid and secure responses. Consider the capacity of your present team and how much you anticipate the number of calls to rise. Provide resources for your call team to be more efficient, like basic guides and call scripts. Remind your call reps to be empathetic and patient with distraught customers.
Show customers you care
Many of your customers are or will soon be facing financial hardship due to COVID-19. If possible, offer payment holidays and temporary relief. As unemployment skyrockets, many customers will face extreme financial stress. As a result, many banks are choosing to waive interest charges or suspend late fees for customers who request COVID-related relief.
Use this time to serve in unexpected ways. Go the extra mile and ensure your support reps truly ask how a customer is doing. As much as possible, create human interactions for distraught customers who need to talk through their concerns.
One strategy we’ve seen financial institutions implement is calling customers when stimulus money has been deposited into their account. While the first round of direct deposits has gone out, in the event of more government relief, it can be beneficial to take this opportunity to connect with customers. Give them a call to ask how they’re doing, if there’s anything you can do to help, if they’re presently experiencing financial hardships, and to share how your institution can support them.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 creates the perfect storm for cyber hacks and fraud. As users opt into digital banking while social distancing, many financial institutions are working off-premise, making it crucial to have security measures in place to protect your customers’ information.
As you make adjustments or double down on your present strategy, communicate with your patrons to put their minds at ease. When reaching out to connect, share the steps your institution is taking proactively to keep them safe.
Develop support for remote employees
With so many changes happening quickly, it’s important to ensure your team is properly supported. In order for your team to provide the best service to customers, they need access to support for any issues they may encounter while working remotely or new questions that may come up due to the pandemic.
Additionally, it’s crucial to remember that your employees are people too. They likely have families and other responsibilities, and this is a stressful time for everyone. Acknowledge what everyone is going through and approach the situation with empathy. Your employees will be happier and more effective as a result, keeping your customers happy too.
This is a crazy, unprecedented time for everyone. As a bank or credit union, you’re in a unique position to impact the lives of your consumers as they deal with this crisis and any potential financial hardship as a result. By continuing to do the best by your customers, you’ll solidify your relationships and increase loyalty during this crisis and beyond.