24 April 2020
As a country, we are living through unprecedented times, with uncertainty being felt in almost all areas of our lives from food shortages, to health concerns and job security. However, another area that people will undoubtedly turn to during a global crisis such as COVID-19, is the reliability and reassurance of their bank.
According to the BBC, almost 90% of the UK adult population has at least one active personal bank account. And an individual’s ability to continue to access their account and ensure that their money is safe, is of paramount importance.
Consequently, what banks are now facing is a communication challenge. During a time, when the entire population is required to stay at home, how do you reassure customers of your organisation’s stability, while also demonstrating new ways that they can securely access their bank accounts from home?
Changes to opening times
Almost all banks across the country will have had to make an adjustment to the operation of their physical banks, whether that be a smaller number of staff working in the branches, shorter opening hours or in some cases whole branch closures. This is totally understandable and acceptable, however the way in which your customers react to these changes very much depends on how much you communicate with them.
In our experience, the more communication you can give customers around opening times, the better the information will be accepted. However, it’s important to communicate with your customer base using their preferred channel, whether that be an email campaign, letter or text message.
With 95% of the UK population owning a mobile phone, we advocate sending a short and informative text message to your customer base, advising them of opening time changes at their local bank. This channel has an open rate of 95%, with most recipients reading the message within 3 minutes. However, it might also be worth considering the older generation who perhaps aren’t as technologically savvy; would a written letter or phone call be a more suitable approach?
Alternative ways to access your bank account
According to Measuring U, 19% of all calls to a bank’s call centre are to make a payment and 17% are to check their balance and review recent transactions. During a crisis, the frequency of calls to your contact centre is likely to substantially increase. Consequently, it would be advisable to communicate with your customers how they can easily carry out these actions, without any need to contact your call centre.
Online banking is now relatively widespread with 69% of the UK population using the internet to access their account. Most banks’ portals will enable users to securely login, make a payment and check their balance. Consequently, creating some effective communications that encourage users to access their bank accounts online, can help to alleviate some of the pressure on your call centre operatives.
However, this type of informative guide may be difficult to successfully communicate in the space of a normal text message. This is where our PDF functionality can help. This means that you can send your SMS message in the normal way, but attach a link to a PDF. This could potentially house a step-by-step guide for accessing your bank account or an infographic of the features and functionalities that your online banking portal offers.
Managing Enquiries with Chatbots
The value of chatbots in fielding simple, repetitive questions is well known, with 64% of advisors saying that they allow them to spend more time solving complex problems. There’s an additional benefit of saving customer service costs, which at a time when all cost centres are being reviewed is a helpful side effect (source),
But with many banks having legacy software systems, adding this functionality can seem prohibitively expensive or time-consuming; could you realistically get this in place before the end of the lockdown? This is where leveraging existing systems such as RCS and WhatsApp can help; RCS is replacing SMS as the default messaging app on Android devices, and 70% of UK adults have WhatsApp (source). Both support the deployment of chatbots.
Working with a communications partner, banks can start leveraging these communication channels quickly and cost-effectively, improving customers’ experience by reducing call waiting times, and ensuring that your people are focused on the customers with the most challenging needs.
There are many ways in which technology can help to support the financial industry during this challenging time and we believe that communication is at the heart of this. No matter the channel or use case, you need to continue communicating with your customers in the most convenient and effective way.