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Rosie Murray-West
By
April 30, 2020

Bank Communication during COVID-19: Helping customers get the message


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Britain’s banks are communicating extensively during Covid-19, but customers aren’t always getting the message. Our consumer survey shows that many customers believe that they haven’t had any information about how their banks are handling the pandemic, despite clear evidence that all major brands are contacting customers.

 

“A large number of customers aren’t registering the key offers of support that the banks are trying to make available,” says Jade Edwards, Head of Banking.

 

“We have been monitoring communications from the banks, and they are all making offers to support their customers, as per the government’s mandate.”


Consumer Intelligence’s data shows that a quarter of consumers think they have either received nothing from their bank, or that they are unsure.


“Bank customers are going through very difficult times, and may not be registering more complex communications,” Jade says.

 

“It’s vital to understand their requirements to support them well at this time.”

The good news

Unlike other industries, banks are mostly meeting customer expectations when it comes to communication and support around Covid-19. Separate Consumer Intelligence data found that banks ranked above insurance, media and travel companies in how they are supporting customers at present.

 

However, banks ranked below healthcare, retail, the government and the education sector, suggesting they could still be doing more.


Most of those who recall receiving communication from their banks believe it has been useful, with 62 per cent either agreeing or strongly agreeing that the content they received was helpful.
The overwhelming majority also say that the way in which they received the communication was helpful - with emails being the most common form of communication, while app notifications and text messages were also popular.

In what ways have you heard from current account provider in relation to Covid-19?

Email

76%

Notifications via the app

36%

Text message

21%

Letter

13%

Saw advertising on TV

7%

I contacted them via their website

5%

I contacted them over the phone

3%

I can’t remember

0%

Another way

4%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The content I have received has been useful

Strongly agree

33%

Slightly agree

39%

Neither agree nor disagree

22%

Slightly disagree

5%

Strongly disagree

2%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meeting the Chancellor’s challenge

UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak has ordered Britain’s banks to support their customers during the Covid-19 pandemic with a variety of measures, including adding an extra £500 to overdrafts and freezing credit card and loan payments.


While our investigations reveal that all banks have written to customers with details of the help available, around half of customers believe they haven’t been offered any support, while a quarter believe they may not have heard anything at all.


“There’s a clear disconnect here between fact and perception,” says Jade. “We know banks are sending out the information, so why aren’t customers registering what is available? It suggests that there are barriers that the banks must overcome if they are to help their customers at this time and meet the Chancellor’s requirements.

Have you heard anything from current account provider in relation to Covid-19?

Yes

74%

No

14%

I'm not sure

12%

 

 

 

 

 

Of those who believe they have been offered support by their banks, the most common thing they believe they have been offered is more flexible repayment terms on credit.


Customers also think they have been offered more available customer support, but there was little understanding around overdrafts specifically.

Has your bank offered any practical support to you in relation to Coronavirus?

No – I’m not aware of any

49%

Flexible repayment terms on credit

18%

Increased availability of customer support (e.g. call centres, in branch)

16%

Payment holiday on a mortgage

15%

Access to personalised advice

13%

Payment holiday on a personal loan

10%

Flexible repayment terms on personal loans

10%

Something else – please specify

7%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An important role

Most customers believe that it is important for banks to communicate with them on Covid-19, with 50 per cent of those who believe they haven’t heard from their banks saying that they thought that they should have done.


“It’s important banks get their message across,” says Jade.

 

“They need customers to know that the support is there, and they need the government to see that they are offering everything they have been asked to offer.”

Getting the communications right

With customers overwhelmed by schemes and information, less is more when it comes to Covid communications. Banks should consider:


• Sending shorter communications
• Focussing on one type of support per communication
• Ensuring their emails and texts are clear and compelling
• Repeating offers of help regularly so that the message is not lost.

 


Webinar: Communicating on Covid-19

How can the retail banking sector ensure its offers of help are being heard by customers?

To support our contacts with knowledge and information that will drive confident decisions and decisive action at this difficult time, this webinar looks at the response from consumers to the COVID-19 communications issued by UK banks, this will arm you with the knowledge of how consumers have been reacting to the communications they receive, and how best to engage with customers on COVID-19 issues as the pandemic continues to impact their every day lives.

 

WEBINAR REPLAY

 


 

 


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