Improve Your Marketing Response During a Crisis

Couple does online bankingAs the effects of COVID-19 ripple through the world, efficient communication plays a vital role in keeping customers informed in uncertain times. In today’s digital world, businesses can provide near-instant updates on how they’re responding to the situation, which helps maintain customer confidence and prevent confusion.

However, failure to provide timely and appropriate information during a crisis can prove costly for your financial institution as customers may lose faith in your ability to help. Untimely and inappropriate messaging will damage your reputation and could send those customers to another service provider.

Here are some tips for adapting your bank or credit union’s communications during the COVID-19 situation.

Show Empathy

COVID-19 is affecting nearly every aspect of life for many people. As their lives are changing, their emotions are running high with confusion, fear, uncertainty, and anger. Because of this, people want to see businesses provide real, sensitive, and authentic responses.

Don’t ignore or lessen the impact of current events on your customers. Be aware of and empathetic to your customers’ and employees’ emotions and needs during this time. Offer support and guidance that will help your communities and show leadership.

Review Everything

While you might want to be seen as a strong leader, remember that getting through a crisis is anything but business as usual. Even seemingly, innocent communications or marketing efforts can strike the wrong tone and damage your company’s brand. Be sure to stop any automated social media posts, digital ads, or scheduled emails, making sure the messages are timely.

Automatic targeted ads and posts can place your company in an awkward position by creating insensitive messaging. Take, for example, an unnamed financial brand whose vacation loans ad about a dream trip to Italy was featured on a news article about the COVID-19 situation in Italy.

Personalize Content

People need to know that your business is keeping them in mind, but they also don’t need their inbox flooded with messages that don’t pertain to their situation. Avoid sending announcements for specific types of customers to your entire customer email list, even if the message is crisis-related. Spamming consumers with irrelevant information and news shows you don’t value their time. Instead, tailor messages for your various customer segments and get each group the information they need in a timely manner.

Educate People

A recent J.D. Power study showed that 67 percent of consumers still rely on the teller line inside branches and 54 percent of consumers are branch dependent. With the current stay-at-home orders in place, these customers are forced to turn to online resources to interact with their branches, and it can be a struggle.

It’s essential to reach out to these late digital adopters with information about online banking and mobile banking. These resources can include guides for online bill pay or depositing a check with a mobile app.

Your customers — especially those who have been reluctant to adopt digital banking — are also more vulnerable to scams during this turbulent time. Alert them about any new or ongoing scams or criminal activity and what to look out for. Ask yourself what questions your customers will have and provide reliable customer communications.

Knowing how to respond during a crisis demonstrates leadership and will build trust and confidence with your customers or members for years to come. Read our blog post “Are Your Millennial Customers Ready for an Economic Downturn?” for more information on keeping customers informed under challenging times.

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