Working in times of coronavirus—evaluation of the interactive chatbot survey

The coronavirus pandemic puts existing digitalization initiatives to the test, but how well does remote working and especially remote management function during the crisis? And what changes have employees noticed in customer behavior? More than 350 employees of banks and insurance companies have already taken part in our interactive survey on the new chatbot tool—a zebFutureProof initiative—launched in mid-March, at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis.

Working from home during the coronavirus pandemic

Information management is fundamental in times of crisis, but how satisfied are employees with the information they receive during the coronavirus crisis?

70% of the participants felt sufficiently informed right from the start of the crisis. The remaining 30% of respondents have divergent opinions: one-half thinks that that the information provided is now sufficient, but that their own employer reacted too late. Only 13% consider the information provided to be insufficient. The crisis management teams of the banks and insurance companies therefore deserve praise: the participants evaluated their information management positively!

But what about the technical infrastructure and working from home? More than 70% of our participants state that they currently work entirely from their home, with an additional 15% working partly from their home.

The majority of them report to have been operational directly after the short-notice move to working from home. This clearly shows that the IT investments made into virtual work during the past few years have paid off. They not only serve to increase employee satisfaction and improve work processes, but are also a fundamental part of emergency management.


Analyze the survey results of the entire coronavirus survey directly in the interactive dashboard:

Go visit the Digital Services Hub’s interactive dashboard


More than 60% of those surveyed confirm that collaboration in virtual teams works surprisingly well. Especially employees of the large-cap and specialized banks provided this feedback. Nearly 15% of the participants actually rated the current collaboration as significantly more efficient. A further 19% state that they do not perceive any difference.

Nevertheless, the well-known teamwork problems also exist at a distance: 16% of those surveyed report, for instance, that information is lost and 14% find cooperation difficult. Further points mentioned are missing work structures and lack of feedback. Consequently, virtual teamwork requires further optimization of these aspects, e.g. by introducing clear processes for information transfer and feedback. This could include the establishment of a virtual daily stand-up meeting.

The feedback regarding productivity in times of coronavirus also reveals interesting results. The participants state that they are able to accomplish about 87% of the productivity level achieved in former times.

Remote leadership in the coronavirus crisis

About 53% of those surveyed work as managers. 54% thereof indicate that leadership works just like before.

More than 42% report that leadership works to a limited extent. Only about 3% state that team leadership is no longer successful.

The participants then discussed the related problems in an open-question format. The main point outlined by 40% of the participants is the lack of subconscious communication, which is difficult or impossible to achieve in virtual coordination. These participants agree that certain topics such as appraisal interviews are better held in person.

Moreover, the now missing random meetings in the office, for example, lead to a neglect of personal communication. In addition, those surveyed report that virtual coordination, especially in groups, is difficult and that the current processes are not set up for fully digital processing.

Overall, the participants rated management effectiveness at an average of 80% compared to former times. This suggests that leadership behavior at present still has some shortcomings, although with a positive trend. Banks can take advantage of the upcoming period to continue working on their digital processes and the associated infrastructure and to increase their value even further in the medium term.


Customer behavior during the coronavirus pandemic

In addition to changes in working conditions, the current coronavirus pandemic also has an impact on customer behavior.

Customer inquiries increase across all customer segments, especially in regional banks.

The survey participants observe a significant rise in the number of requests for short-term liquidity increases among retail private customers:  45% of the institutions report a rising demand for overdraft facilities, 29% mention queries relating to mortgage financing, such as deferrals, and a further 25% perceive a growing number of consumer loan applications. Another noticeable fact is that 31% recorded an increase in requests for money withdrawals.

At 57%, requests for portfolio restructuring are most frequent in private banking, although own online access to the portfolios is now also increasingly in demand.

Corporate banking currently has two main areas of focus, each of which was cited by over 60 % of those surveyed. On the one hand, customers apply for the KfW loans advertised by politicians, and on the other hand, they seek liquidity relief for existing financing, for example through deferrals.

In terms of customer behavior, the survey participants observe that customers across all segments maintain their trust in their banks even in times of crisis and consult their bank advisors for problem solving. This effect is most pronounced at the local regional banks.


Free interactive analysis of the coronavirus survey

From the employees’ point of view, what are the challenges for their employers?

Our new digital service offering—the Digital Services Hub—provides you with more information about the survey results on the “challenges for banks” and allows you to analyze the entire coronavirus survey in an interactive dashboard:

Go visit the Digital Services Hub’s interactive dashboard

In uncertain times it is more important than ever that financial services providers remain good partners for their customers and present themselves as part of the solution. For further information on this topic please refer to our zebFutureProof-page.

Feel free to contact us!

Dr. André Ehlerding / author BankingHub

Dr. André Ehlerding

Senior Partner Office Berlin
Sven Krämer / author BankingHub

Sven Krämer

Partner Office Münster
Author Anna Schweifel / BankingHub

Anna Schweifel

Senior Manager Office Münster
Author Christina Wirth / BankingHub

Christina Wirth

Manager Office Münster

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