McKinsey: banking and customer experience during COVID-19

By Matt High
Banks and financial services institutions can use digital technologies to improve customer service during the coronavirus crisis, according to McKinsey...

Banks and financial services institutions can use digital technologies to improve customer service during the coronavirus crisis, according to McKinsey

Banks can play a central role in slowing the spread of COVID-19, through migrating customers to digital and remote channels, says McKinsey.

In a recent article, Remaking Banking Customer Experience in Response to Coronavirus, the management consulting firm explained how banks should adapt their customer service and experience to best suit the context of COVID-19.

As well as slowing the spread of the pandemic, McKinsey said that “banks can help limit the impact of the likely downturn by building new experiences to help their customers manage debt, adjust budgets, and make full use of new government programs.”

Creating a superior customer experience

Traditionally, McKinsey explained, the concept of customer experience rests on making customers happy so as to achieve loyalty, trust and encourage them to use more products. 

However, the spread of COVID-19 has disrupted every industry sector worldwide; normal rules no longer apply. 


In such circumstances, McKinsey says that “superior customer experience means clarity and transparency, support for digital tools with which many customers are still unfamiliar, and new products and services for customers in distress.”

To adapt to this change, banks should implement an action plan that encompasses several key steps. According to McKinsey, these are: 

  1. Assist customers to transition to digital and remote channels as soon as possible. This is particularly important for retail and small business customers, it said. Actions under this step include better supporting the use of digital channels so that customers can bank remotely, and offering customer support where necessary. 
  2. Introduce new experiences for distressed customers. This step will help those individuals struggling financially as a result of measures taken to slow the spread of coronavirus. In the US, for example, McKinsey reports that the pandemic has “made half of banking customers concerned or somewhat concerned about their job security”. Banks can help through product design principles based around awareness, transparency, clear expectations and updates that meet demand. 
  3. Improve experience while also addressing efficiency. Banks will have to improve their efficiency as a result of damage to the economy from COVID-19. Much of this will be achieved by enhancing digital self-service for customers.
  4. Reframing the employee experience - this directly shapes customer experience and, as a result, greater effort to engage customers, help them adjust to digital banking or use of mobile apps, and achieving skills needed to support digital transformation is required.
  5. Turn ‘doing the right thing’ into a competitive advantage. This will become increasingly important in the current environment, particularly as doing the right thing will ultimately lead to long-term value. 

Read more on changing the banking customer experience by McKinsey here.

For more information on all topics for FinTech, please take a look at the latest edition of FinTech magazine.

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