How Financial Services Organisations Can Support Staff and Customers in this Time of Need


This is a challenging time for people and businesses everywhere. As we face a global pandemic that is impacting every facet of our daily lives, the financial services sector needs to remain focused on what has always been important – supporting staff and customers by remaining transparent and responsive.

Modelling undertaken by KPMG Australia noted that, in absence of a Federal Government stimulus package, COVID-19 would reduce Australia’s GDP by about 0.9 percent – over $17 billion – by the end of 2020. By the end of March, Australian federal government announced its $130 billion JobKeeper Payment to help Australian businesses and workers navigate through this current crisis.

However, the Reserve Bank recently forecasted unemployment to hit 10 per cent by June, and the RBA has since noted that its priority is “to support jobs, incomes and businesses, so that when the health crisis recedes, the country is well placed to recover strongly.”

The key message businesses everywhere should be conveying is that the priority is people, not profits.

Industries everywhere need to exercise greater duty of care towards its staff, customers, and partners because everyone is facing these extraordinary circumstances and only a united effort will end this widespread crisis.

To help organisations navigate through this challenging period, SAP recently hosted a series of virtual forums called 2020 Adaptive Strategies in a Changed World. This digital event featured industry-specific episodes to help businesses not only adapt to this extreme situation, but find ways to be more resilient and prepared for the future.

We’ve already seen the impact of COVID-19 on markets and market trends, how businesses are adjusting to the legislative changes that are limiting movement – both of people and goods. The trickledown effect of supply chain impact is being felt everywhere, and compounded with social distancing and business closures, this is a time to be more accommodating to staff and customers.

In terms of supporting employees, it’s about clear communication and ensuring the wellbeing as they transition to remote work or face potential redundancy. Business leaders need to ensure employees have the right information and technology to work efficiently and safely from home, remaining abreast of the company’s situation and their employment.

When it comes to customers, communication is also paramount, and both stakeholders rely on the digital capabilities of financial services in order to remain safe, informed, and engaged.

Digital Channels and Experience Management
Businesses that invested early in digitalisation are better equipped to face this current crisis as they’re able to offer online services to customers, particularly banks that moved towards branchless service. The development of cashless payment is certainly a valuable service as branches remain closed, however debit facilities are being challenged and we’re yet to understand how this will impact on the customer experience.

Understanding the customer experience now is vital as their preferences (alongside employee experience) dictates how successfully a business can adapt to change.

FSI providers must have a digital first strategy to not only service their products on digital channels, but also to be able to cross-sell, up-sell and attract new customers.

Staying close to customers is crucial – and digital communication platforms can help business connect with customers and staff more comprehensively.

FSI players must constantly assess the sentiment of customers and employees to refine its service offerings and experience management goes a long way towards understanding those sentiments. This not only helps businesses better define its purpose, but build loyalty, increase revenue, reduce management costs, and ultimately unlock efficiencies.

The ability to be transparent is limited to customers and staff as digital platforms can also facilitate improved collaboration across industries and supply chains. While COVID-19 has brought forward some major challenges, it also presents businesses everywhere with a significant learning opportunity to evolve, to digitally transform and emerge more resilient to shock events like this.

To learn more about how the FSI sector is mitigating risks and responding to this global pandemic, sign up to the second edition of the Adaptive Strategies in a Changed World series – going live on August 6th2020.