We aim to help marketers offer the best customer experience they can and continue to build their brand equity during this time of crisis.This week's themes are: Impending recession – Differentiate actions – Combat negative news.
Seven weeks into lockdown we are starting to see people’s concerns for the impending recession. The worry about the pandemic itself is at an all-time low at 67% very or fairly concerned (v 79% last week) and perception of banks is at a high – with 70% thinking banks are doing enough to help customers (v 66% last week). However, longer-term economic worries are becoming top of mind when people are asked about the impact of COVID-19 on their household finances - “no savings interest, pension knock-on effect unknown, price increases and taxes”.
Customers understand that it is difficult during the pandemic, but we are still seeing people struggling to get the advice they need due to shortened branch opening hours and saying they can’t easily contact the bank with queries. Banks have a role to help customers through “offering assistance, advice, flexibility” and helping them plan for the future.
Mortgage holidays, no fees, and extra fraud protection have now become industry standards. Initially, we saw owned communications from banks, such as emails, being very persuasive (much or slightly more likely to choose the bank next time). Three weeks ago 43% of all owned experiences were persuasive, whereas this week only 28% are. Overall owned communications are still positively received and are considered relevant, but they are not differentiated and driving consideration. As one customer said “I received an email from NatWest saying that I had their support, although it didn't specify in what way...Slightly bemused and, to be honest, a bit annoyed by yet another communication from a bank claiming to be on my side, but not in a concrete way.“
The key for banks to attract and retain customers is to truly differentiate in their actions now. This is easier said than done and requires looking to brand values and purpose, an understanding of customer needs, and some creativity.
Combat negative news
A couple of weeks ago we saw comments showing people’s concerns about the need for banks to get loans to small and medium businesses quickly. This week this has manifested in negative PR. Three weeks ago only 1% of all earned experiences (e.g. stories in the news, conversations) were negative. This week this has risen to 5%. “Read that Barclays is not processing the bounceback loans, thousands of people are unable to apply for the loan.” Banks need to demonstrate support for SMEs and be prepared to counteract negative news as the focus starts to shift away from the virus.
- Provide advice to customers to navigate the coming months of recession.
- Seek ways to truly differentiate bank actions to attract and retain customers.
- Combat negative PR through supporting SMEs and quick processing of loans.
Mark Thompson, Experience Director & Kaat Defreyne, Senior Experience Executive