Small businesses in need of urgent financial assistance from COVID-19 disruptions are looking to banks for help. Specifically, there is a rush to apply for loans under the Paycheck Protection Program. The $349 billion small business loan program, part of the CARES Act, was launched last week, but a confusing set of guidelines from the federal government has left banks scrambling.

While banks may need to slow down for a few days to put a regulatory framework in place, they can work to ensure they have the best tools and practices in place to service small businesses and other consumers in the most seamless and human way possible today. Rolling out appointment scheduling as part of a comprehensive customer service program will provide fast, frictionless service as demand soars.

Understand the Unprecedented Confusion

Right, now a mix of extraordinary factors means customers may require more assistance than is typical for SBA loans in the past.

  • The nature of the pandemic has closed most branches to walk-in traffic, leaving new and existing customers confused about how to contact loan officers at your bank.
  • Newly released guidelines aren’t consumer friendly. Some of the largest banking brands in the nation have delayed loan applications as teams of lawyers scour legal documents. Understand that most small businesses are at a much greater loss to understand what they need to do and how to get started.

Pivot Customer Strategy and Scale-Up Customer Service Infrastructure

Proactively mitigate customer confusion while providing the most up-to-date information. The more work your team can do behind the scenes, the easier it will be for your loan officers and team members to handle requests and process loans in a streamlined way.

  • Make it easy to find information about the CARES act on your website, social pages and mobile apps.
  • Appoint a Business Experience leader to ensure that the right people are available to handle an increased volume of business loan requests.
  • Create a clear call to action with a “Schedule an Appointment” link on websites and digital assets.
  • Empower call center reps to help customers schedule appointments with the right people at the right time, helping to ease employee workload.

Enable Online Appointment scheduling to Provide Meaningful Customer Experiences

Even amid a spike in loan demand, customer service remains a critical success factor for a bank’s long-term success. At Engageware, we work with more than 200 of the country’s largest banks and credit unions to provide trusted online scheduling solutions for virtual and in-person meetings. One of the most effective ways for small business owners to connect with loan officers is to offer online scheduling, letting customers decide the most convenient time to meet.

Based on feedback from financial institutions, we know that when customers can easily connect with banks, it helps:

  • Manage call center volume
  • Align customer expectations
  • Removes friction from the customer experience
  • Provide peace of mind for consumers, especially amid today’s ever-changing circumstances

Provide Employees Tools for Additional Support

It’s not just customers who need extra guidance. Ensure that employees also have access to the support they need. From a business perspective, aligning CRM, the call center and your scheduling tools creates an information loop that gives employees visibility into a customer’s history, ensuring paperwork and other background information is complete before an appointment begins.

On a personal level, deadlines are shortened, more employees are working from home and increased customer demand means that more breaks and other tools to emotionally support your team is needed at this time.

Engageware Essential Banking Package for Rapid COVID-19 and CARES Act Response

In response to time-sensitive need, Engageware launched the Essential Banking Package. Retail banks and credit unions can roll out the scheduling solution in hours, providing customers an easy way to make an appointment via an online link. In the short-term, clear confusion about how to best contact you and help staff process SBA loans more quickly. In the long-term, ensure a customer-centric strategy that fosters high-value loyalty.

The Essential Banking Package is available in two versions: Remote Only for virtual appointments, or Remote Plus Branch for both virtual and in-person meetings. For more information on Engageware Essential Banking Package, schedule a time to talk with a scheduling expert.

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