5 Things Banks Should be Communicating to Their Customers

We are living in unprecedented times as COVID-19 continues to impact the lives of your customers.  As your customers’ daily lives, habits, and financial well-being continue to change, your bank will also need to evolve with them as their trusted financial partner.

Here are 5 key communication strategies your bank can do to help address your customers financial needs.

1. Types of Financial Relief Available

Since the middle of March, nearly 1 in 5 households have experienced a layoff or reduction in income. For your customers, every dollar counts, and they will remember that you took actions to help them when things settle down. Be sure your customers know that you understand the challenges they face and what support you can offer.

Things to consider:

  • Extending due dates for loan payments.
  • Waiving minimum balance requirements.
  • Offering overdraft protection.
  • Low-interest loans.
  • Eliminating or reimbursing fees.

Be clear about what you’re offering to your customers both now and later, to mitigate any impact on their accounts and financial well-being.

2. Explain Forbearance and What It Means

While forbearance may provide temporary payment relief to assist your customers, it’s important that they understand exactly what that means to their finances. Show your customers that you care by working with them on a case-by-case basis. Providing them a one-on-one interaction will show them that you are human, have compassion, and are there to help them through a difficult time as they take care of their most basic needs such as food and shelter.

Make sure your customers understand:

  • How to request or apply for help.
  • How long payments will be suspended.
  • What the repayment plan will look like.
  • If there will be temporary increases in monthly payment to get caught up.

3. Services Available to Your Customers

In order to build trust with your customers it will be important for them to know what services are available. Proactively provide information on how to get in touch with you using multiple channels including email, dedicated web landing pages, and IVR systems. Proactive communications will help free up your banker’s time to dedicate one-on-one support to your customers via phone or video conferencing.

If your call centers have longer than normal wait times encourage your customers to use online banking resources to manage their accounts such as online banking, bill pay, or electronic payments. In most cases it will be easier and faster for them. Make sure there are resources available help guide them should they have questions.

4. Digital Banking Options

As your customers settle into the new norm, at least for the short term, now is the time to reimagine the journey of your customers as entirely digital.

Think about things such as:

  • Are there bank procedures that “require” a branch visit that could now be done virtually?
  • Can your customers apply for a short-term loan online or make an appointment to meet with a banker virtually to start the process?
  • Does your bank offer contactless payment with your debit and credit cards?  If so, now is a good time to make your customers aware of this feature and how easy it is to use.

5. How and Where to Get Questions Answered

There is nothing more frustrating to a customer than having to hunt for an answer and not being able to find what they are looking for. Have a page on your website that provides information like frequently asked questions or dedicated phone numbers for payment suspension or modifications. Keep your information clear with defined headers, bullet points of what they will need to apply for loan modifications, or links to easily navigate your website based on their needs.

Effective communications will help put your customers minds at ease, build their confidence with your bank, and ensure their loyalty to you as a bank they trust.