1. Say it clearly and say it often
It’s good that 63% of small business owners rate their banks’ communication efforts as very good or excellent. But it’s not good enough.
If your customers don’t know or understand how you’re helping, this may indicate a bigger problem. Do your own team members understand the message? Do they believe it? What your customers see as inconsistent communication may be a key indicator of a bigger problem with your culture. Look for the root cause.
2. Show empathy
Small business owners aren’t just mini versions of Fortune 500 companies. Often, these are hard-working entrepreneurs who have risked everything for their dream. When they worry that they might need to suspend operations, this is about more than just their business: It’s about their vision for the future. A little understanding from your bank may buy a lot of goodwill.
3. Be the trusted advisor you’d want
Your customers don’t just need a loan. They need to understand their options: The Payroll Protection Program? The Main Street Lending Program? Deferments? Alternate sources of capital?
Many small businesses may have expertise in something other than finance, so they may not know how to apply for help, or even how to evaluate the options. How can you align your service delivery and your incentives more closely with what your customers really need?
4. Use technology to personalize service at scale
Quickly scale up your use of videoconferencing and other online collaboration tools to help keep the conversation going. You may already have a variety of tools that can help automate routine work, freeing up your staff for truly personalized advice. For example, take advantage of the websites and apps that you’ve already built to deliver “low-touch” advice and support. Let your customers know where to look and what information they can find —whether that’s industry insights or business advice. Other options to do more with less include intelligent automation tools to help process requests quickly, and ways to rethink contact center workflows.
5. You can’t help everyone
The sad truth is that in this environment, resources aren’t limitless. So, which firms should get funding? Which customers have long-term potential, but may need forbearance to get through this period? Which may simply default?
In many cases, you may already have enough data to make effective, objective decisions. How can you repeat this process, better, faster and inexpensively?