April 02 2020

Using Your Website as a Digital Branch During the COVID-19 Crisis

digital bankingWhile we are living in uncertain times, here’s a familiar “face” that can help establish a sense of normalcy with members and customers – your website. Your website is the face of your financial institution, and visitors already rely on it to provide access to their accounts online, as well as information, products and services that can support their financial needs. While you’ve probably already been providing updates about how your financial institution is addressing COVID-19 – there are many other ways you can use your website to maintain relationships with audiences while the lobbies are closed.

Create a daily or standard welcome message

Use your homepage banner space or other prominent messaging area to include a friendly message to greet visitors.  This could be as evergreen as “welcome to our online branch,” or as creative as featuring your branch employees with warm and timely salutations. Mimicking a more realistic in-branch experience online, this will help visitors feel connected while practicing social distancing. It’s also great opportunity to illustrate your strong internal culture and how your team is still working together while working apart.

Feature online and mobile banking solutions

If you’ve struggled with online and mobile banking adoption rates, there’s no better time to get people signed up for digital banking than now. By illustrating all the ways members and customers can bank at home, you can fulfill a fundamental need by helping consumers manage their money when they can’t easily access a branch. Use current events to position your digital banking solutions strategically and establish relevance. Also, be sure to offer instructions -- either written, visual or video if you can -- to help customers and members successfully get started using various online and mobile features. The more comfortable users get with them now, the more likely you will maintain active users when the COVID crisis passes.

Enhance your frequently asked questions pages

Offering answers to common questions can also help reduce barriers to entry for digital banking solutions. It can also help reduce call center volumes that are undoubtedly higher than normal right now with members and customers inquiring about loan payments and financial assistance. A specific set of FAQs covering account access, branch access and other timely matters can help alleviate uncertainty, while general and product related FAQs can provide necessary clarification for consumers. 

Highlight customer and member support overall

While FAQs are great, there are still many consumers that will need to contact your bank or credit union right now due to difficult circumstances, such as lack of income, which is unfortunately a reality for many people. Use your website to communicate the various ways consumers can get in touch with your institution directly, from phone numbers and email addresses to chat and online contact forms. Communicate average or expected wait times, but don’t let too much time pass between initial contact and response. This will help create a positive experience for people who are trying to navigate some negative situations. The easier it is for them to get the support they need, the better, since frustrated consumers could result in unwanted PR for your brand.

Make it easy to open accounts or apply for loans

On that note, a consumer’s experience with their bank or credit union right now could make or break your hard-earned relationship with them, causing consumers to look elsewhere for financial services. If you offer online account opening or loan applications, ensure that they are prominently featured on your website on every page this is available. Even if you don’t offer these online capabilities, you can still appeal to audiences switching institutions or simply in need of financial assistance by providing a direct means of contact and clearly communicating process.

Provide helpful financial tips and advice

Many people are in need of financial advice given the current environment. Banks and credit unions can use blogs, resource centers or any other existing format to provide financial advice to people struggling with the impact of COVID-19. From financial articles and infographics to videos, institutions can serve as a leader and help guide consumers, from how to maximize savings to staying current on payments.

Don’t forget to focus on the positives

All financial institutions are supporting their communities through the COVID crisis, whether it’s keeping your employees safe or donating to local organizations in need. Use your website and social channels to showcase this to create positive brand impressions. We all need some good news and happy thoughts to break up the daily dose of doom that unfortunately is our present situation.

We will get through this together

Even though members and customers can’t see the smiling faces of your staff in person, your website can help your financial institution fair this unprecedented time. For more information or assistance, connect with our team at ZAG.

  • Banks
  • COVID-19
  • Credit Unions

posted by
Brenna Kelliher
Brenna Kelliher
Associate Director of Marketing

ZAG Interactive is a full-service digital agency in Glastonbury, CT, offering website design, development, marketing and digital strategy to clients nationwide. See current job openings.
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