It’s more important than ever that financial services brands communicate clearly, regularly and with empathy and understanding.
While some customers will be more severely impacted by the lockdown than others, everyone will be going through a time of increased apprehension and stress.
While all brands should be communicating with empathy, financial service brands will see people at their most anxious.
Social media is a great platform for financial service brands to build trust and provide quick and clear updates to customers. It also allows them to be more human in their communication.
We’ve updated our guide on how to manage social media engagement for financial service organisations. It’s available to download here.
The opportunities provided by social media
Firstly, while social media offers many advantages to financial service brands that want to engage their customers, local regulation has to be taken into account. Regulation will vary depending on locale, but there’s a brief summary of major regulation in the UK and US available in the financial services guide.
Once the regulatory considerations are accounted for, financial services companies can use social media to:
- Deliver efficient customer care. Quick, convenient and virtual customer service – on any channel that the customer is using – is especially important during the COVID-19 lockdown.
- Humanise the brand. At times of crisis, in particular, we like to see the human side of brands. Tone-of-voice should be confident, reassuring and empathetic. People need to know that they can approach the provider if and when they experience problems.
- Conduct research and development that can improve industry positioning. Using social listening, brands can analyse the behaviour of the customer base and identify trends that could give them a head-start on developing new products and services.
- Recruit in a way that people find engaging. Using social media as part of your recruitment channels helps brands stay top of mind, and develop and hire talent during the lockdown.
- Stay on top of business reputation. These days, many people take to social media when they have an issue with their financial services provider – they’re only going to be doing this more during the lockdown. An active social presence allows the organisation to identify issues and respond as soon as possible. Social listening allows organisations to stay ahead of changes in consumer emotion, allowing them to assess whether the time is right for planned campaigns to go live – having this kind of insight is especially crucial during the challenging times we’re currently experiencing.
- Reach younger audiences. People have many more options for financial service provision than previous generations did. Social media gives providers a good way to reach the younger-end of the market and work at securing the next-generation’s loyalty.
One advantage of having a well-managed social media presence during the lockdown is that it may help reduce demand at customer service call centres so that people who are vulnerable or elderly and may not be online, can get the help they need.
If the organisation has had to pause or shelve certain campaigns due to the pandemic, perhaps use the free time to develop that new channel launch that’s been discussed. That way, once lockdown has eased and the situation is less critical, the organisation will have a new way to reach audiences.
Focus on social media strategy and guidelines
Financial service providers should regularly review their social media strategy. What problem does the social media presence solve?
Once the strategy is in place, come up with a comprehensive and accessible set of guidelines for employees to use when managing social media. Make sure you use these guidelines when training staff and regularly update them.
Create an engaging experience for customers
While people often turn to social channels to talk to brands, it’s still a place we go to for entertainment and to chat with friends and family. Financial service providers need to ensure that their content is engaging and informative but not intrusive.
For example, think about what the right social channels are for your brand. Think about content from the customer’s perspective. What do they want to see? What’s important to them?
Ensure that any social channel you establish is adequately resourced and monitored. It’s so frustrating not to receive a response when you have an urgent query (especially these days, when other contact options may be limited).
Financial Service Organisations: Managing social media during a crisis
During a crisis – especially a prolonged one – it’s essential that financial service providers have enough trained staff on social media to be able to rotate people on and off the teams.
Customers are likely to be less patient, with their emotions running much higher than usual. It can be very stressful for teams to manage social media during this time, so you need them to be able to cope with the increased demand.
Financial service providers are going through a period of intense demand – not just for information and regular services, but a demand to provide the extra support that people and businesses need in this time of global crisis.
When used within the regulations, social media can be an efficient and creative way to talk to customers and act with empathy at a time when people will greatly appreciate (and remember) kindness.
With the right systems and software in place, social media can also be a brilliant tool for insight – allowing organisations to monitor and analyse what customers are saying and doing on the organisation’s channels. These insights can help with product and service development, and provide much needed information to the organisation’s leadership team (which will reinforce the importance and impact of the organisation’s social media work).