3 Tips for Financial Services Businesses During Times of Uncertainty
Going virtual, building relationships and connecting with your community
The impacts of recent, unprecedented events are being felt by local businesses in almost every industry in a variety of ways—all with their own unique challenges. As consumers themselves are facing changes in their day-to-day lives and shifting priorities, they may be reconsidering how and where they spend their money, giving heightened attention to their budgets.
As a financial services provider, this may mean you have experienced an increase in phone calls, emails or (virtual) appointment requests from current clients concerned about their savings, 401K, estate planning and more . It also means there is an opportunity for you to reach new customers in your community struggling with these financial decisions and help them through the services you offer.
With this increase in demand, you are likely considering the best ways to support your customers' ever-changing needs and grow your business by adding new clients, too. Here are three suggestions to consider as you navigate this uncertain time.
1. PREPARE YOUR BUSINESS TO GO VIRTUAL
The financial services industry is built on face-to-face interactions. It's no secret - you manage your customers' money and assets, so trust is critical and in-person relationship-building is a priority. But what happens when an in-person meeting isn't an option?
To support your customers, it's important that you and your team are prepared to work remotely. There’s more to it than meets the eye in order for it be effective. Whether its connectivity to servers and applications or access to specific files, you should ensure that you have everything readily available that a client may need. In addition, make sure that you have access to an interface like Zoom or Skype that you can use to conduct video calls, the next-best-thing to a face-to-face meeting.
And keep in mind, the virtual working world may be new for your customers, too. Help them feel at-ease before your video appointments by emailing them some helpful tips or instructions.
2. PUT IN THE TIME TO BUILD LASTING RELATIONSHIPS
The way you approach relationship-building now can affect your business for years to come. Your customers are likely experiencing more stress than usual and may have more questions that feel more urgent than ever before. Thoughtfully arrange your calendar to allow for longer conversations or prep time so you are ready to discuss the individual needs of each customer.
Even though you may have important updates for them, listen first. It's always crucial to prioritize the needs of a customer, but taking the time to listen and fully understand their concerns before offering a solution will leave them feeling heard and supported - and hopefully a little more at ease. This will lead to increased trust in you and your business, which is one of the most important factors to consider when deciding where to entrust their hard-earned money.
Also, don't be afraid to reach out to your current customers who may not be contacting you (yet). A friendly, "just-checking-in" phone call could go a long way for someone feeling anxious about their financial goals. Your concern about their well-being while supporting them in these trying times will help you solidify a loyal and devoted customer base.
3. LET THE COMMUNITY KNOW YOU ARE HERE TO HELP
...But be mindful of your messaging.
The truth is, you are an expert in an industry that consumers are hyper-sensitive to at this time. It is wise for you to spread the word that you are available to help, but even wiser to make sure you are approaching your messaging with sensitivity and not that you are trying to take advantage of financial stress in any way. Here are a few ideas:
- Be reassuring in all advertising and marketing efforts. Acknowledge that this is a stressful time, but let them know that you've "got their back" and are there for them.
- Humanize your brand by spotlighting the individuals on your team.
- Use social media to highlight steps your company has taken to ensure the safety and health of your customers and employees.
- Give timely, quick financial tips via a Facebook or Instagram video.
- You could even send a special offer to smartphones in your neighborhood.
Again, the most important element to consider is the needs of your customers at this time. Empathy and understanding are paramount.
Your customers are facing many changes in their daily lives, and any changes related to their incomes, investments and assets in general are definitely the more pressing ones. As you reach out to and respond to their ever-changing list of questions and concerns, we know you want to get it right and build customer relationships that last. With the right setup, approach and messaging, you can be successful in adjusting your own business to the changing tides.
We understand that you are navigating uncharted waters, but we want you to know you aren't sailing alone. At Cox Media, we want to help you reach as many people as possible to help educate them about their options and opportunities. We're here to help.