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
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
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:
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
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,
FAQs are designed to easen the life of both customers and managers, as most questions tend to replicate themselves.
Who also did that:
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.