The biggest challenge associated with the ongoing COVID crisis is the multi-faceted disruption it has caused on various fronts. Not only is it likely to affect our health and wellbeing but is equally likely to adversely impact our livelihood and business. Hence, figuring out where to start with your mitigation efforts can get a little overwhelming. Among the many impacted areas that are currently competing for your attention, I would recommend focusing on normalising day to day team operations and strengthening communications with clients in the wake of social distancing and remote working. Here are a few effective and simple steps to get you through the challenging times
Be proactive in your communication
Begin with boosting your communication frequency with clients and employees. An increase in communication frequency makes up for the lack of in-person interaction. As per your team’s bandwidth and client needs, zero in on a schedule for proactive client emails, phone calls, social media updates and video interactions. Create a roster that divides clients among existing team members and make regular client interactions a part of their routine. Reassure clients that the current situation isn’t going to impact the level of service by reinforcing messaging around tools and technology that will allow you to service them despite the lack of face-to-face interactions. There are a host of collaboration tools that work for a diverse range of team needs. You can voice call, video call, share files, video conference and set entire workflows with collaborative tools. Quickly pick a suitable tool to conduct virtual meetings with your team daily. Some popular tools include Microsoft teams, Trello, Monday.com, Jira among others. Invest the time in creating an achievable day-to-day plan and help your team stick to it.
Get everyone up to speed on collaborative tech
Clients and employees come from diverse backgrounds and demographics. Not everyone is tech-savvy. With lenders giving the green signal for virtual client engagement and VOI processes, it’s important to walk your clients through virtual collaboration processes and be patient. Also, ensure that your team is well-versed with tools for clients as well as internal collaboration. There are a host of ‘how-to’ guides and easy to understand tutorial videos online. Regularly gauge and encourage progress.
Regularly gauge client and employee circumstances
Not everyone is eligible for COVID hardship relief. Helping clients understand their eligibility can save them a lot of trouble and can reduce the pressure on lender contact centres that are currently stretched too thin. In the case of eligible clients, timely lender assistance can significantly lower default chances. As for employees, have regular video interactions to assess wellbeing. Nip a potential issue in the bud before it snowballs into something unmanageable.
The mortgage industry and the government are working tirelessly to introduce customer-facing initiatives to mitigate COVID caused hardship. Stay updated on the latest lender and government assistance initiatives. Create a detailed master list for ready reference with basic details. This will equip you to answer client queries and make your team’s client interactions a lot easier. Cultivate a deeper understanding by discussing with peers.
Finally, remember that though this is a trying time, it is an excellent opportunity to deliver real value to your clients and forge a meaningful and lasting relationship with them.