Surprise customers impacted by COVID-19 with essential digital guidance

With stimulus checks long spent, and reopening on the horizon, a lot of people are seeking financial help right now and most of them don’t know where to turn. Resources are scattered all over the internet and the first place most people will look for answers is the obvious place: their bank or credit union.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, we are seeing the highest unemployment rates in 2020 since the Great Depression. Easing customer fears while maintaining the integrity of your customer experience, might sound impossible.

Under normal circumstances, this wouldn’t be an issue. Right now, however, when branch lobbies are closed and call center agents are fielding calls about PPP loans and juggling an overwhelming amount of customer calls, the customers who need the most help may fall through the cracks. Or worse, might be told that there is nothing the bank can do to help since they wouldn’t qualify for loans because of their unemployed status.

What if there was a way for banks to help every customer while preserving the integrity of their customer experiences and employee experiences alike? If banks could lend a helping hand to those who need it most and not overwhelm their agents, then maybe the phones would settle down long enough for agents to give every customer the attention they deserve and not feel exhausted after a long workday.

You may be thinking: “Okay, Ignite, easier said than done,” and to that, we say, “Keep reading, friends.”

Lend a Helping Hand

We know how hard it is for agents to get to everyone, especially in times like these. We know how hard it is for customers with uncertain financial futures to seek help in the first place; money conversations can be hard and demoralizing. This is why we created Helping Hand, a one-stop solution that utilizes an intelligent decision tree and machine learning to give your customers customized help instantly and anonymously according to their location and circumstances.

When speaking with Rob Blackwell of the “Banking With Interest” podcast about a Fed-backed overdraft protection program as an alternative to the PPP loan, Mark Cuban said “The key to me, was to make it as friction-free for small businesses as possible…timing is everything,”

He is absolutely right, timing is everything. Not just for small businesses looking for relief, but for the unemployed who aren’t privy to certain benefits.

Let’s take your customer, Allie as an example: Allie worked as a software engineer for a big brand and had recently quit her job because she received an offer she couldn’t refuse. She was meant to start her new position on April 15th, but because of the pandemic, she was told that her position was cut and they no longer needed her. Allie is left with few options; she can’t file for unemployment because she quit her job. Her stimulus check is spent, and her savings are dwindling. What now?

The One Where Your Financial Institution Saves the Day

She calls you, her financial institution, for answers to a problem that she can’t solve by herself. She waits on hold for thirty minutes while she does some long-neglected housework. When an agent gets to her in the queue, she’s surprised at the shorter hold time. It’s a quick conversation and the agent tells her that there isn’t much they can do for her as she is unemployed and would not qualify for a loan. The conversation could end there, but the agent has a trick up his sleeve: he sends Allie to the Helping Hand link on your website.

Once there, she answers a few simple questions like “What are the biggest challenges you are facing today due to COVID-19?” And “Where could you most use a helping hand for direction and guidance?” To name a few. After five minutes, she’s redirected to a new screen “Resources Just for You”. Allie scrolls through and is relieved that here, on one simple web page are all of the answers she has been searching for day and night, since the start of the pandemic. Everything from housing to income relief, budgeting and healthcare, to neighborhood programs and assistance from her industry.

Bridging the Gap

Instead of feeling overwhelmed and dejected, Allie leaves the conversation with your agent feeling helped and heard. Allie can move forward with confidence and when her friends ask her how she knew to contact this agency or that healthcare company for help, she will tell them about the amazing customer experience she had with your financial institution.

According to a recent McKinsey article, “…FI’s need to meaningfully reset their customer|member agenda to meet urgent needs—and to do so for the uncertain period likely to continue for some time.”

Customer experience is about a lot more than chatbots and shorter hold times. Customer experience is about the little things like kindness and making your people feel heard, especially in times like these. Digital transformation in a COVID-19 world is the simple solution to a problem that isn’t going to vanish when the world returns to a semblance of normalcy. We all need to innovate, disrupt, transform, and lend a Helping Hand.

Find out how to get Helping Hand working for your FI.

We can’t wait to hear from you!

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