Thursday, October 21, 2021 | Jan Trifts
Wildfires, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and earthquakes – 2020 set a record of 22 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disasters across the United States, costing $98.9 billion, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The first six months of 2021 have brought eight additional billion-dollar weather and climate disaster events. This year’s hurricane season has already seen storms batter the Gulf Coast and New England, and 2021 is on track to be another top five worst year for California fires.
When these natural disasters occur, affected people need help from their financial institutions. But how do you identify impacted accountholders, and what are the best ways to help as they deal with their devastating losses? To get answers, we reached out to three Raddon clients who have significant experience dealing with these situations, and they shared their best practices.
The key to successfully managing a disaster is to have an established, formal process in place before a crisis happens. Response timing is critical when disaster occurs. If your organization doesn’t have a crisis communications team, create one now! This team monitors local emergency management agencies, gets input from employees and watches local media coverage for pending events. Depending on what part of the country your financial institution is in, a dedicated resource may be needed to manage this process. Disasters always need to take priority, so flexibility in being able to pull resources from other projects and departments is critical.
There are two approaches using a marketing customer information file (MCIF), such as Integrator Advance™ from Raddon, to identify accountholders who potentially have been impacted by a natural disaster.
Standard reports and custom reporting within your MCIF tool provide necessary details for internal and external communication.
Once the impacted accountholders have been identified, flag their accounts on the core system.
Reach out to affected accountholders to let them know you are aware of their situation and are ready to help. The preferred way to contact impacted accountholders is through email. Be sure to provide your institution’s best and most reliable contact number and email address.
If you don't have the accountholder’s email address, make phone calls to offer assistance and send follow-up mailers to reinforce that assistance is available, including any special loan offerings, skip-a-pay options, loan deferrals and FEMA assistance. If you can push notifications to the accountholder’s mobile phone, do so.
The ability to provide feedback from the accountholders to your financial institution should be a key part of your disaster response process.
Have your contact center provide daily reports to management on the number of calls and types of requests being made by the impacted accountholders, and have someone assigned to monitor and reply to accountholder feedback on social media. Set up and use daily group chats to quickly provide updates and feedback to the internal team, and have the branches provide feedback they have received from the impacted accountholders.
In a world of continuing record-breaking natural disasters, a formalized process is key. Timing is critical when your accountholders are impacted. While insurance can help, the reality is when disaster strikes, your accountholders need your financial institution more than ever – from cash to loans to advice. Remember, the goal is to wow the accountholder by proactively reaching out to them and helping in their time of need. Being there to help when disaster strikes can go a long way to creating accountholders for life.
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