As we’ve adapted to new ways of life since the beginning of the pandemic, many brick-and-mortar businesses have had to completely transform their strategies to survive and thrive. One strategy many businesses have implemented during COVID-19 is curbside pickup. While curbside pickup is not a new concept, it continues to become more popular as customers look for ways to safely engage with retailers, banks, and other storefronts.
Curbside pickup is on the rise
The popularity of curbside pickup has grown dramatically over the past several months - in fact, it’s increased more than 208%. According to a recent study on COVID-19 consumer behavior shifts, 87% of consumers said they want businesses to continue to offer options like curbside pickup that limit the need for in-person visits.
The demand and necessity for curbside pickup will continue to impact retail strategies as some places like the UK go into lockdown for a second time, and the possibility of lockdown looms in other places across the globe. While curbside pickup has become an integral part of many retailers' offerings to improve the customer experience, banks and financial institutions also have a major opportunity to capitalize on the success of this type of service. From pickup options to on-site financial services, curbside strategies can give banks a competitive edge and help improve bank branch performance.
And while online shopping and banking are also on the rise, we live in an on-demand world. Customers want the option and convenience to get something within a couple of hours (or at least same-day). Curbside can provide the safety and quick turnaround that customers expect.
An opportunity for banks to shine
One of the first changes banks made during the pandemic was to ensure drive-thru banking was available - a safe and similar option to curbside. Just like retailers, banks have the opportunity to create an experience unlike any other and to truly stand out by offering curbside services in addition to drive-thru banking. Here are a few examples of what your bank could offer as a part of your curbside strategy:
Pick up a new debit or credit card
Drop off or pick up financial documents
Open or close an account
While there are a lot of options, you don’t have to do it all - and you certainly don’t need to do it all right away. You could start with a few services then expand, or create a curbside strategy per branch based on staff availability and expertise. As an additional service for customers who still want to meet in-person, you could use virtual queuing. This allows customers to safely wait in their cars until it is their turn to meet with someone in your branch.
Clear communication equals a better customer experience
The most important aspect of curbside pickup? Clear communication! Many customers are anxious about new processes and regulations surrounding COVID-19, so you want to ensure you provide clear instructions on what they need to do. Similar to how you updated your branches with clear signage and communication about new hours and COVID-19 policies, you should approach any new curbside service with the same attention to detail. Things you should consider communicating to customers prior to and at arrival:
Where do they need to park?
How do they check in - online or by calling?
Do they need to provide their car color or license plate information?
What identification or paperwork do they need to have ready?
What is the wait time once they arrive?
What do they do if no one comes out or they’ve been waiting a long time?
How do they contact you for more information or questions?
Are they able to add on additional services to their original request, or do they need to make a new request?
This communication should be personalized based on the type of service or pickup. For example, if someone is picking up a new debit card, you should clearly communicate what they need to have ready to show a staff member, such as identification and bank account information. Whatever your service or process, ensure you set your customers and staff members up for success!
If you are able to clearly communicate and provide an exceptional experience, customers are more likely to use your curbside services again, and spread the word to friends and family members.
Curbside pickup is here to stay
As consumer behaviors have shifted during COVID-19, so have their expectations. Whether today or post pandemic, one thing is certain: curbside pickup is here to stay and your customers want more of it. If you haven’t already, now is the time to rethink how you typically do business to provide better experiences and peace of mind. By improving the customer experience through new, engaging, and safe curbside options, you can increase customer satisfaction, build loyalty, and drive revenue growth.