Strategies to Strengthen Accountholder Relations During COVID-19
Produced by Allied Solutions | April 29, 2020
With the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic forcing financial institutions to close branches and halt in-person interactions, it has become more challenging than ever to keep-up ‘business as usual’ with accountholders. With needing to service loans remotely, provide easy access to accounts and funds, and deliver virtual support and communications – there is much to be considered.
We’ve put together a list of easy-to-implement, cost-efficient (or free!) strategies to help your financial institution amplify consumer relations and business in a remote setting.
Remote Service Considerations
Continuing to provide top-notch service to accountholders remains a top priority for financial institutions. The challenge is finding creative ways to do so without being able to meet face-to-face.
Consideration #1: Inbound questions & service requests
Although in-person walk-ins or appointments are not an option right now, there are various tried-and-true remote service channels your financial institutions can leverage. Adding a ‘Live Chat’ feature to your website is a great way to provide on-demand service that will deliver long-lasting value to your institution and consumers. You may also consider adding more call-in options for accountholders, so consumers can more quickly and easily have their specified needs addressed.
Consideration #2: Access to account transactions & funds
The good news: this pandemic is happening at a time when our industry has access to more digital solutions than ever before. If your financial institution has not yet adopted online and mobile banking technology, there are numerous vendors who can help make this a quick and painless process for your business – Allied being one of them. It’s also quite simple to add new services and functions to these channels, if you already have online and mobile banking available, but are looking to make this channels more dynamic for your accountholders.
Adopting e-signature software is another great way to simplify virtual account transactions for you and your accountholders. Not only will this technology improve the experience for your accountholders, it will also help your institution perform business and close loans faster, while reducing processing costs.
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Consideration #3: Loan onboarding & servicing
Digitally-optimized loan solutions are out there to support the ways in which coronavirus has impacted your borrowers’ financial situation, as well as your institution’s loan business. For example, providing borrowers digital access to reset their monthly loan payments or make other loan modifications is a great way to help your consumers in need, while also freeing-up a lot of back office resources for your institution. Offering consumers the ability to apply for small-dollar, short term loans is another great way to provide financial support for your impacted consumers. Additionally, there are now solutions available to make SBA loan applications available on your website, making this process easier on you and your consumers.
Outbound Communication Considerations
How you handle your proactive, outbound communications with consumers can have as much of an impact on your business as the way in which you transform your inbound service strategies identified above. What you say and how you say it can be a game-changer for your consumer-relations during this time.
Consideration #1: Communication approach
The choices your institution makes right now should reflect the care and concern you have for your accountholders and your community, and your communication strategy can be an integral tool for supporting this objective.
With everyone being impacted by the coronavirus pandemic in some shape or form, consumers are hyper-sensitive to the communications they receive right now. Sales-focused communications are being rejected, for the most part, so temporarily halting or limiting product marketing may be best, unless the solutions are directly relevant to consumers’ COVID-19 related needs.
Transform your communications into an avenue for your accountholders to receive timely updates, educational information, and helpful resources. You can take this a step further by setting up COVID-19 specific contact information, e.g. an email address and phone number.
Consideration #2: Communication channels
Leveraging every channel you have to get your communications out can help ensure you get your message in front of your accountholders, regardless of age or demographic. Digital channels offer easy, inexpensive ways to get the word out, and these are the most effective engagement channels for getting in front of your younger demographics – namely Millennials and Gen Z. These channels include email, text messages, video messaging, social media, and messages on your website or mobile app. Direct mail can also be a valuable communication channel for older audiences, especially among those elderly accountholders stuck in quarantine.
Consideration #3: Education opportunities
Consider offering remote education opportunities to your consumers, especially if you offered regular, in-person workshops pre-COVID. Hosting webinars and virtual workshops on topics specific to COVID-19 can help build long-lasting trust with current and prospective accountholders while also opening up sales conversion opportunities. Examples of these virtual sessions include webinars identifying loan modification options, financial wellness workshops, and community resource seminars, to name a few. You could also offer one-on-one education opportunities to accountholders, such as scheduled appointments with wealth management or financial advisors.
On the flip side, look for ways to become more educated about the impact the pandemic has had on your accountholders. Send out a survey that asks about your accountholders’ financial situation and needs. Not only will this demonstrate a high level of concern for your consumers, but it will also create a new opportunity to receive data that could offer value well beyond the pandemic.
Though ‘business as usual’ isn’t quite the norm these days, there are a lot of ways in which financial institutions can leverage the current pandemic to sustain – or even improve – relationships with accountholders. And many of the changes you implement today could have long-lasting value for both your institution and accountholders, beyond COVID-19.
Allied continues to work with our partners to offer COVID-19 related solutions for our clients. Contact us to hear more about these new services: email@example.com
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About Allied Solutions
For over 20 years, Allied Solutions has been selling and underwriting customizable solutions to keep credit unions protected from unexpected risks. Allied is now the industry's largest independent producer of credit union bond and insurance business with more than 800 clients nationwide and a staff that has extensive technical experience and know-how. It is this commitment and expertise that has helped Allied save clients millions in insurance premiums, and has resulted us in being granted 'Preferred Partner' status by NAFCU Services.
Content in the blog posts are the opinion and views of the writer, and don't necessarily reflect the opinions or views of Allied Solutions.