How to communicate impactfully during a crisis and build trust

Customers don’t think about banking. They just expect it to work. These are extraordinary times, however, which call for extraordinary measures. It is an enormous opportunity for banks to build trust and loyalty and shift the perception that banking today is just about transactions.

The COVID-19 crisis is impacting people on a very personal level. People are scared and consumer confidence is eroding. In a recent BCG Consumer Sentiment Snapshot, 46% of US consumers feel the world is in serious danger due to the virus, 56% feel there will be a recession, and 65% fear the worst impacts are ahead. The global fight against COVID-19 has been completely unexpected and the possible implications are only starting to be understood. 

The story that unfolds does not have to be so bleak. Banks can play a significant role in helping consumers navigate through these uncertain times, with thoughtful and targeted messaging that provides guidance, eases financial pressures, and ultimately addresses their pain points. The power of continuously engaging with customers on an individual level in a way that creates value for them has the potential to result in life-long relationships between banks and their customers.

Communicate to alleviate pain points

Woman smiling


Communication needs to be extremely personal in order to resonate with an individual, particularly during a time where the situation is changing every day. Any type of communication should link to a tangible solution. 

For example, a bank might have a customer who purchased her first house with her partner just before the COVID-19 pandemic began to unravel. While initially she wasn’t concerned, her situation dramatically changed in a matter of weeks. Working in the travel industry, she was recently laid off and is now experiencing a tremendous amount of stress trying to figure out how to make ends meet and support her family.

Using their data to identify the situation, the bank could send her an offer to put her on a mortgage vacation so she won’t have to make any payments for the next 90 days. And if the bank is set up to offer personalized communications and content on their app, it can send her a push notification so she receives the offer as quickly as possible on a channel she is likely highly engaged with.

By proactively recognizing her crisis and providing a solution to help mitigate the issue, the bank is able to give this customer a valuable and meaningful experience that breeds loyalty and trust.

There has never been a more important time to accelerate digital innovation



Banks now need to re-examine every service experience through a digital lens. It is no longer part of a growth strategy; it’s about survival. In fact, banks must urgently advance their digital transformation strategies as these channels have become critical in supporting customers’ evolving needs and concerns. 

The good news is that banks can do this quickly by partnering with a fintech provider. Solutions exist that allow them to improve customer experiences on the channels customers are increasingly turning to during this time of isolation and fear.

Building trust and lasting relationships

Customers’ financial needs are fluctuating rapidly and there is unprecedented uncertainty. Banks need to switch from a sales mentality to focus instead on reducing risk and providing personalized support and education. They are in a fortunate position as they have massive amounts of data to target the right customers; a task which can be made easier with a customer experience solution that also facilitates data segmentation so they can deliver the right message to that right customer at the right time. Here are a few examples of the types of communications that can deepen trust with customers when targeted appropriately. 


Financial assistance use case


inform use case


digital banking use case

Financial assistance and relief 

Providing personalized support to your customers when they need it the most is an impactful way to build trust. In addition to the example above, a few other campaigns to consider launching include: 

  • Extended Payments Terms
  • Loan and Mortgage Refinancing
  • Credit Limit Increases

Informing & educating your customers 

Proactively share helpful information in real-time but add a lens of ‘personalization’ so the messages don’t get lost as clutter, ensuring they resonate with the individuals you are sending them to.

  • COVID-19 Related Branch Updates (location specific)
  • Digital Card Activations
  • eTransfers and International Remittance Mobile Wallet and Tap-to-Pay

Download our eBook on Customer Experiences During Times of Crisis for more use case recommendations.


Final thoughts…

Every day, consumers are overwhelmed by thousands of messages including traditional advertising, emails, and digital communications. During a crisis, messaging that is not relevant can become noise and, even worse, offensive and negatively impact brand perception. Think about how many COVID-19 emails that have landed in your inbox lately. How many have you actually opened and read? They are typically generic and more about the entity that is sending them versus the individual that is receiving them. 

Fostering digital engagement with your customers is no longer an innovation strategy for the future. It is critical to retaining your existing customers right now by providing the experiences they need on the channels that are most important. Rather than de-prioritizing digital transformation plans, they need to be brought forward with urgency. Customers are expecting more from banks, and it’s time for banks to set the stage for a lifetime of impactful engagement that builds trust and loyalty.

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