The Value of the Personal Touch in Emergency Communications

When there is a major national emergency, your customers or members expect to hear from their financial institutions.

In the past month, everyone with an email account has received a barrage of communications from their yoga studios, streaming services, and healthcare insurance providers. But how many of those messages did people find helpful and informative? How many were actually personal outreach that prompted the recipient to act and respond in a way that felt productive in this time when so much of life is on pause?

When it comes to consumers’ financial institutions, the information they receive must be clear, consistent, and highly informative. The messages you send should also be relevant, or it’s unlikely your customers or members will read and absorb the information, and it will erode trust.

To reach your customers or members in a crisis, it’s worth your time to add a personal touch to your emergency communications. Here are a few strategies and crisis communication examples to demonstrate what this might look like for your financial brand.

Craft and Send Messages from a Real Person to Bolster Trust

Financial services is a personal, relationship-driven industry. People want to work with people, not businesses. This is part of why people trust brands that present a human face: a familiar face makes your financial brand feel more accessible, accountable, and relatable.


This is particularly important for leaders within the financial services industry. An authoritative figurehead that presents their empathy and offers the help of their institution is a better invitation for engagement than any authorless page. If you’re looking for a fantastic example, look no further than the NECU COVID-19 landing page.

To emulate this kind approach for your own organization, you’ll need to send personalized messages that come from real people. There are 2 ways to do this:

  1. Leverage readymade journeys that you’ve already set up to send personalized messages across channels.
  2. Create new journeys that are tailored to customer or member needs in the current moment.

These journeys and campaigns work in the background to trigger those right messages at the right time, empowering the continuous flow of communications to stay connected with customers or members.

Include a Video to Help Humanize Your Message

Effective communications during a crisis may come in the form of a text message or landing page update, but you should also leverage video, as this format is the new norm for online communication. While your video messages don’t have to be long, they should be informational, educational, and engaging. Above all, they must provide information that’s of interest to customers or members.

A video message can help reassure your customers and members that real people are hard at work helping service their accounts and answer their questions. Short videos provide opportunities for customers or members to see a friendly face and reinforces that you’re a brand backed by real people. Person to person, you’re sending them a relevant message because you want to help.

We find that messages from leadership are more powerful when they come from their mouths than when their words are delivered via email. If you’re wondering what this might look like, check out this reassuring message from the CEO of Quicken Loans / Rocket Mortgage.

Internally, these videos can also support the message that your financial brand has a consumer-centric culture from the top down.

Power Your Humanized Experiences with Technology

Your brand needs to be high tech to provide a high-touch experience. You must have the right technology to proactively reach people where they are. In today’s crisis, everyone is at home, and the best way to reach them is through digital channels.

This is where the customer or member journeys you have running can be of use as you work to provide education to help people use new resources in new ways. This may include instructions to help customers or members who are new to digital banking.

Chase has done a great job of this, and their efforts go a long way to help those who didn’t use their online banking tools in the past. As part of their strategy to share effective communications during a crisis, they’ve linked a series of how-to videos that demonstrate their mobile products on their landing page for COVID-19.

Instructional videos are a great way to communicate this information and walk the user through each step as though they were right there with your customer or member representatives.

Transparency and Accountability Are Critical in a Crisis

Personal communications fuel trust, and this is the key ingredient for financial institutions that are focused on supporting lifelong relationships with their customers and members. In moments of crisis, transparency is critical, and people look to their financial institutions for reassurance, resources, and answers.
Empower your team to provide an automated, personalized customer or member experience at scale. With the right technology on hand, your team will be ready to create and share humanized messages to your customers or members when they need them.