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Financial Services

How Banks Respond to COVID-19 Will Test Their CX

We are living in unprecedented times. This is the first time in my life I see people’s daily lives and habits change on such a large scale, and in many cases, not by choice. Lots of things are changing because of the coronavirus (i.e., COVID-19). Schools are closing, concerts and sporting events have been canceled, and stores are out of food and supplies. The list of how COVID-19 has affected everyday life goes on and on.

Questions linger

We now find ourselves asking, “How has the company I do business with been impacted by the virus?” In other words, “What’s their plan and response?” Some are wondering about the financial impact the disease will have on their families. What should they do with their investments? Will they get paid if they are told not to work or work from home? The list of questions and concerns is long.

Over the last few days, I’ve only received a handful of emails from companies I do business with, telling me how they are reacting and what they’re doing amid this crisis. They are talking about how they can be of assistance to their customers and what they are doing to protect them. That’s exactly what I want to see from companies. It shows me they’re human. It shows me they’re compassionate. It shows me they are putting their customers before profits.

Right now is the time for banks to show their true CX

When it comes to customer experience or CX, as we like to call it, right now is the time for financial services companies to shine and show what they’re really about. It’s time for them to walk the talk. Consider it a CX litmus test.

I do business with one major bank and one community bank. Neither has communicated with me about COVID-19. This isn’t right on many levels. We need them to step up to the plate and talk to us.

Questions customers have and some considerations for banks during these trying times:

  • Are your branches still open? Have the times changed?
  • Will you have fewer employees at the branches?
  • Have you reduced the number of appointments with specialists?
  • Are you wiping down doors, tables, ATMs more frequently?
  • Have you placed sanitizer around the branch?
  • Are you asking customers to shift to mobile banking?
  • Did you increase the number of call center representatives?
  • Are you offering any unique or unusual financial assistance?
  • Are there delays in processing deposits?
  • Have you increased the number of financial advisors available?
  • Are you offering mortgage assistance?
  • Are you waiving late credit card payment or overdraft fees?
  • Are you offering low-interest loans?
  • Are you offering online and mobile chat support?
  • Do you allow customers to text with you?
  • Can we communicate with you over social media?
  • Are you directing customers to the CDC or the WHO websites for more information about the virus?
  • Did you set up a dedicated page for coronavirus questions and answers?
  • Did you set up a dedicated phone number for coronavirus-related questions?
  • Are you making pop-up branches available in areas where the need might be the greatest?
  • How are you helping those who have quarantined withdraw money?
  • What do those that rely on in-person check cashing do?
  • What happens if someone needs a money order or a bank check?
  • Are you still offering notary services?

COVID-19 has certainly affected regions differently. But what should all of us expect? Tell us every way possible—website, email, text, phone, social media, etc. There’s no such thing as information overload right now. We want to hear from you. We need to hear from you.

Preparation and the future

Many companies are in the same boat. They’re reacting to the situation—some faster than others. Sure, many have a business continuity plan (BCP) in place. And it’s possible that communication (i.e., customer experience) wasn’t made a priority. Or maybe the BCP plan hasn’t been revised to adapt to customer expectations or the way we interact and do business today.

Lessons will be learned, and we’ll all be better off next time, should something similar occur. We’ll reflect and understand the challenges that prevented us from responding accordingly. And hopefully, we’ll have the necessary systems and processes in place to show what real customer experience is all about.

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Eugene Sefanov

Director, Industry and Regional Marketing

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