COVID-19 continues to impact nearly every aspect of the financial services industry. The share of mortgage loans currently in forbearance is 7.74%, though the percentage has declined in recent weeks. Many banks and credit unions have offered Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to small businesses facing fallout from COVID-19. As people reach out to their financial institution for advice about how to address these challenges, call volumes and wait times have skyrocketed.
The support customers and members need during financial hardship should be timely and humanized, but it’s challenging to personally respond to 100s of inquiries. Successful financial services organizations are following these 3 strategies to proactively inform, educate, and engage their customers or members who are experiencing financial hardship.
1: Empower Customers or Members with Educational Content
Many customers or members may be facing financial challenges that they’ve never dealt with before. Some may benefit from products or services they don’t even know exist. To help them, build a comprehensive hub with resources specific to common questions and concerns.
Amp up real-time communications around current events and policies that might impact your customers, such as updates to the CARES Act or a potential second round of PPP loans. For example, you can add an FAQ page that offers an introductory overview of the PPP application process and explain how to ensure 100% loan forgiveness.
Update these pages routinely as new information is released alongside your local reopening policies and relevant interest rate changes.
Also recognize the opportunity to increase acquisition through educational nurture campaigns targeted to prospects. These resources build trust with first-time applicants and encourage future loyalty.
2: Centralize and Review Your Content Library
Guarantee your teams have easy access to approved, compliant marketing materials for common products and services. Centralize them and create a searchable content library with assets across the customer or member lifecycle.
Review all your digital materials to ensure they are up to date and reflect current best practices for your organization. For example, does your content around unemployment benefits include the most recent changes to the CARES Act? Are your recommendations for budgeting in line with your institution’s current parameters for loan modifications?
When reviewing your marketing materials, it’s important to practice empathy in your approach to your standard products and services. Now is obviously not the time to promote a credit card travel perks campaign, but also ensure all your offers and incentives are considerate of customers or members who may be unable to afford those products at the moment.
3: Leverage Data to Deliver Personalized Resources
To identify the solutions your customers or members need, think about how you can connect their data or behaviors to relevant content, products, and services. Evaluate your data and communications history and ask the following questions to identify some of the ways you could engage specific groups of customers or members:
- How are you engaging loan forbearance applicants as their first payments are due?
- Were there any applicants you had to turn away for PPP the first time who may be eligible for the deadline extension?
- How are you educating customers or members who have indicated they are in financial crisis about smart budgeting and planning?
- What are you doing to inform customers or members about the long-term implications of short-term relief programs?
Leverage the data you already collect to anticipate your customers’ or members’ questions before they reach out and tailor your responses. Engage with highly relevant, hyper-personalized content. People don’t just want to hear from a real person; they want information that’s specific to their situation.
For instance, you could reach out to small business owners with several late payments to provide resources from your content library and see if they need additional support.
Strong Support Now Builds Relationships for Life
When people know they can rely on your brand in financial hardship, they’ll know they can count on you time and again. Set the stage now for future financial health by providing excellent resources that can guide those who need it through important financial decisions.
To scale these efforts and the resources that make them possible, invest in the right tools today. An agile technology platform empowers your teams to be the advisors your customers or members are searching for during crisis and into the future.