Financial services

How financial services can better engage during coronavirus and beyond

  • jennifer kim twilio
    Jennifer Kim
  • May 27, 2020

The pandemic has escalated the need for sophisticated digital capabilities in the financial services industry.

Adjust text size

As coronavirus continues to spread, the pandemic is having a human impact that is rapidly transforming the global economy.

It’s forcing financial services companies to rethink business continuity in order to sustain operations and minimize risk during strenuous times. Especially in the financial services industry, the pandemic is highlighting the stark contrast between companies that invested in digital strategies prior and those that did not.

In light of the mandatory quarantines and social distancing brought on by COVID-19, a key challenge is front and center: how to balance account security and compliance with optimal customer experience.

For any financial services companies yet to fully embrace digital, now’s the time to make the transition. Consider these best practices for creating reliable, secure, and omnichannel onboarding, engagement, and support for your customers.


Today, all companies must enable customers to verify identification, submit applications, and open accounts online—all while maintaining industry compliance standards. Now that digital onboarding is an option, customers expect an easy, end-to-end experience across preferred channels.

Take, for example, mobile banking platform Banno. In response to an increase in phishing attempts and account takeovers, it implemented two-factor authentication (2FA) as an essential account security method for enrollment. Banno enhanced security and streamlined the onboarding process by reducing the number of requirements needed to open an account.

Get the ebook, The Rising Cost of Fraud, to learn best practices for collecting and using phone numbers for identity proofing.


Before reaching out to customers, companies need to perform risk assessments to ensure newly remote employees can meet security and privacy regulations as they access customers’ highly confidential data from home.

Like the healthcare industry, financial services also play a fundamental role in our lives, and how these industries respond to this crisis has a significant emotional impact. Customers prefer email and SMS for receiving messages, with just 12 percent of consumers preferring a company’s mobile app for receiving communications. Morgan Stanley Wealth Management responded to customer demand for 1:1 conversational messaging; they provide client texting to “align Financial Advisor-client communications with the way people communicate today.

Both in the midst of a crisis and normally, customers expect more proactive communication and seek reassurance and guidance to navigate financial uncertainty. Forty seven percent of consumers say they want to hear from companies either with the same frequency as before COVID-19 or more frequently, given how rapidly things are shifting.

Bankers, financial planners and advisors, and insurance agents alike are reimagining the customer journey. Messages with inspiration and strategies to stay safe were ranked of high interest by 37 percent of consumers that we surveyed, particularly when those recommendations are grounded in the company’s area of expertise.


Before quarantines, social-distancing, and other restrictions on business began, there were alreadythree factors shaping the modern contact center: a next-generation workforce, process automation, and customer expectations.

In light of the coronavirus, financial institution employees have been deemed essential, but in order to continue their work amid shelter-in-place requirements, many have transitioned to remote contact centers. How those centers operate is a critical part of the customer experience, given more than half (57 percent) of financial institution customers rank call support as their initial channel preference for flexible communication with an opportunity to ask, explain, reason or negotiate.

Watch the on-demand webinar, Securing digital interactions with Two-Factor Authentication.

In lieu of contact center as a service (CCaaS) solutions, development teams are turning to communication platforms as a service (CPaaS) to differentiate their customer service with application program interfaces (APIs).

These building blocks allow for complete control and maximum flexibility to adapt a contact center to changing business needs, market conditions, and customer expectations. Without fully ripping-and-replacing, there are also alternative ways to augment the contact center. Ultimately, the companies that are able to provide a timely, personalized support experience will be the ones to instill confidence during this time of crisis, and beyond.

See how ING Chief Architect Henk Kolk describes how ING transitioned from 17 disparate legacy call centers to a CPaaS.

Beyond COVID-19 and the future of the financial services industry

The pandemic has escalated the need for sophisticated digital capabilities in the financial services industry. Companies that respond and adapt through differentiated customer experience, within onboarding, ongoing engagement, and support will be in an ideal position to weather this crisis and emerge stronger.

Learn more in our recent Twilio Talk, where experts discuss the impact of COVID-19 on customer engagement preferences, onboarding strategies, and customer support for the financial services industry.

We're here to help

Reach out to speak to a qualified Twilio representative who will help coordinate the right resources to support you and your business.

Learn More
I want to see more about: 
  • Editions
  • Industry
  • Product
  • Region
  • Solution
  • Use case
Communication for good | Spring 2021
  • Communication for good | Spring 2021
  • COVID-19 and the new normal | Winter 2020
  • Digital trust | Summer 2021
  • Pre-SIGNAL special | Fall 2021
  • Retail in 2021 | Summer 2021
Let's go
jennifer kim twilio

Jennifer Kim

Jennifer Kim is an Industry Marketing Manager at Twilio, focusing on the Financial Services industry.