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Taking it Personal: Being There for Customers in a Challenging Time

May 7th, 2020

So many adjustments have had to be made throughout the COVID 19 lockdown, almost nothing about our lives are recognizable. Although financial institutions were among the businesses deemed “essential” and allowed to remain open, the way credit unions and banks do business has drastically changed. Processes and procedures that were previously carried out without a second thought have had to be modified. Sudden changes don’t always tend to hit the target the first time but, according to customers and members, community banks and credit unions are doing an excellent job at being there for them.

Adjusting How You Do Business

Financial institutions have not only had to consider what processes would be affected by the lockdown, they also had to contend with adjusting business on the branch-level. Lobbies closed, service centers got busier, and many in the banking industry are now working from home. Aside from the emotional and mental challenges that presents, the logistics are difficult in an industry that often relies on hard-copy signatures and face-to-face meetings. What’s more, people are simply used to doing their banking in person. Face-to-face customer service is among the top three reasons people of any age stop in at their local branch.

Strict stay-at-home orders require dealting with customers almost exclusively over the phone and through email. Electronic signatures are becoming more prevalent and, in some necessary cases, closing agents visit customers in their homes to wrap up a transaction. Things like opening accounts, making deposits, cashing checks, and applying for loans must be done online or at the drive-thru. On top of it all, those in the financial field have taken on the unofficial role of counselor at times, offering a patient, understanding ear along with advice on products and services. Greeting a customer through the glass at the drive-thru with a bright smile or sincerely enquiring over the phone about how they are faring during the lockdown means as much to them as spending some extra time outlining various available assistance options or putting additional effort into processing a PPP loan quickly so a business can make payroll on time.

Knowing You’re on the Right Track

There’s never been a more important time to provide customers with personal attention, but in a time of crisis, there’s an opportunity for banks and credit unions to super-size the personalization factor. Take it to the next level by reaching out with solutions customers might not know are available or realize they need. Obviously, that level of personalization requires really understanding who your customer is, knowing what they’re facing in their personal and financial lives, and taking the initiative to reach out with more than just a form-letter email. When you can deliver that level of personalized service, you create more than grateful customers. You build loyalty that will follow you well past this current state of emergency.

But is there a way to find out what your customers need and gauge how well your bank or credit union is meeting those needs? Financial institutions that partner with Avannis know exactly what’s on their customers’ minds and how they’re doing at serving those customers. Here’s just some of the feedback one of our clients received from a recent survey on how satisfied their customers are with how their bank is handling the COVID 19 crisis:

  •       Glen assisted us by walking us through the PPP paperwork which really helped.
  •       I have been impressed that you have worked so hard to work around the constraints the virus has put on things by having us e-sign documents and mailing them.
  •       We had to open an account at the drive-thru but it was very convenient. I love that you are open on Saturdays and have good hours…
  •       Your people are being very patient and kind and helping our financial lives go on as normally as is possible.
  •       We started the loan process before the virus restrictions hit, and then we finished up using online services as well as phone, email, and visits. You were very accommodating…
  •       Everyone at (my bank) treats me with such kindness and eagerness to help…

We provide the tools and the services you need to send customized surveys like this to your banking customers, and we also help you interpret and catalog the information so you can easily access feedback for any segment of your business. What’s more, Avannis can categorize your data by product, demographic, employee/branch, or numerous other ways to give you a deeper understanding of your customers’ needs and experience. You’re already dealing with enough issues adjusting to the new way of doing business. Let us help ensure the connection to your customers is strong and that their needs are being met. Contact us today to learn more.