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Neobank’s COVID-19 communication: 5 strategies and examples

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of the reviewed companies

Everyone who uses online banking and fintech services (pretty much all of us these days) might have noticed changes in their interfaces and communication: pop-up notifications, COVID-19 related FAQs, special offers, social awareness campaigns, and more. Acknowledging the severity of the situation, some tend to get more or less creative in the attempt to offer support – and to retain clients.

We have gathered both most common and eye catching messaging and special activities that financial services providers engage in these days, analysing the best practices on the communication level during the coronavirus pandemic. 

1) We’re here for you: supportive messaging 

Before we dive into specific cases, let us highlight what they do have in common: a responsible, supportive approach to helping the impacted individuals and businesses get through the hard times is what roughly 100% organizations are choosing for their communication materials. 

We’re here for you, we'll do everything to support you, we're in this together, we'll get through this together, – banks tend to offer these lines on the front pages in order to soothe a panicking client worried about his/her loan settlement once they enter the website. 

Most common lines include: 

  • Letters from CEOs
    In order to add the personal touch, many banks publish personal letters (signed and scanned!) from chief executives, looking to enhance the “we’re here for you” narrative. Some even refer to watching Frozen 2 with the fam for a better effect.
    Who also did that: Klarna, TransferWise, Erste Group 

  • Appeal to dialogue
    “If you have a problem, you’re worried, you’re affected by the pandemic, – reach out to us, and we’ll make sure to offer you help” is a common best practice.
    Calling for dialogue adds up to personal communication, it is not irritating, unlike some one-way emails “we are all having a hard time because of the pandemic” might be. Feeling that you have someone to talk to and get actual help is the best way to increase customer loyalty. 
    Monzo brought this to the next level: “we know how difficult it can be to ask for help, but we care and we’re here to listen and help however we can”.
    Who also did that: Atombank, Klarna, Athena

  • COVID-19 FAQs 
    FAQs are designed to easen the life of both customers and managers, as most questions tend to replicate themselves. 
    Who also did that: Revolut, Monzo, TD Bank 

2) Support packages

COVID-19 hit consumer, student, mortgage and business loan borrowers especially hard. A variety of government initiatives around the world can partially relieve this burden, but help is still much needed to navigate through these difficult times. Financial service providers step in – and communicate it via their interfaces.

  • Citizens Bank has launched a COVID-19 relief program for its impacted customers, offering financial assistance for the borrowers right on the homepage. Being the first thing you see as you enter the website, it makes a good impression on those not affected as well – a win-win.

  • Anna assists businesses in winning grants and loans provided by the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme program. Thus, they show social responsibility and keeping hand on the pulse. Such initiatives are aimed first and foremost to improve relations with old clients by simplifying their life; at the same time attracting new clients who are already facing difficulties. 

  • Online payment service Stripe gives businesses an option to suspend subscription payments for a while instead of cancelling them. The ability to freeze monthly payments adds extra points to the reputation and help to retain clients. 

3) Free services for clients

  • Fintech company Kabbage Inc. launched Help Small Businesses initiative, offering free online certificate/gift card sales service as the simplest way for customers to support their favorite brands. The company spotted the pertinent pain of its target audience and suggested a solution based on the existing interface, which will attract new clients for the more distant, “post-pandemic” future. Thanks to the well-timed solution, they got into Facebook’s coronavirus social project and enjoyed free advertising for clients and themselves.



  • Appway, a fintech offering online banking solutions, rapidly reacted to the situation and provided banks and SMEs with a free tool to automate COVID-19 related loan giving out process, that can be integrated in a couple of hours. It saves financial institutions and other fintechs from lengthy development process, and surely adds up to the karma. 

To be fair, many fintechs have shown solidarity to the banking industry (alongside with a great promotional opportunity), offering free services to financial institutions. The full list can be found here. 

  • Credit cards for business services Pleo offers free 3-months packages for new clients. 

  • Stripe chose targeted communication and offers free priority support for telehealth services, including a consultation package in order to attract and onboard new clients – online businesses that are currently in high demand due to the self-isolation mass trend. 

4) Useful content 

Information is the key: apart from vital COVID-19 relief initiatives, one of the most important steps financial service providers can take in the times of crisis is to share expert insights, relevant and useful content with their users. Remote work, financial resilience and stimulus benefits are among the topics in high demand.

  • Financial well-being provider Neyber offers live webinars on financial resilience and lifehacks in times of crisis on their Facebook page.  

 

 

  • Dave’s latest blog posts are dedicated solely to COVID-19 related issues and advice: handling unemployment, jobs you can do from home, getting money from the stimulus. 

  • Lunar Bank shares a variety of coronavirus-related third-party content with an easy-going tone: health education, breathing exercises. Even if there’s no capacity for creating owned content, sharing carefully selected and curated content is a good way to go. 

 

  • Paystack offers a set of webinars and blog posts for African business owners to make a transition online, with COVID-19 being a convenient occasion for educating local entrepreneurs. 

5) Lifestyle / collaborations

Fintechs are built by people – for people. That’s why the spotlight is on mental health and ways to maintain it: in the long run, this is no less important that for financial well being of customers than smooth administrative processes. 

  •  N26 partnered up with Headspace to offer free access to meditations so that people could take care of their mental health. The move promises a good future for N26 lifestyle banking, strengthening the association between banking and a trendy lifestyle application. The partnership might be an additional incentive for old customers to switch to premium packages in difficult times.

Final thoughts

Focus on convenient ways to deliver valuable content is what matters in these turbulent times – whether it’s easy access to information about stimulus packages and grants, rapid notification of any changes in services or free access to activities focused on mental health. How these measures help? 

Your current clients – even those who did not suffer extensively from the crisis and reach out for help –  will pay attention to your services once more, and afterwards will remember that you were there to offer help, and not just exploit the situation. Reasonable sacrifice is always perceived positively: it attracts new users, and makes the old ones more loyal and closer to the brand. 

In the eyes of users and the market, you are making an impact, you are socially responsible and quick to react. This status can’t be more valuable in the times when people expect banks to be way more than “just banks”. So now is the time to shine. 

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Nataly Sturza

Nataly Sturza

Co-founder, Design Director

ANGRY UX

Member since

04 May

Location

Moscow

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