5 things keeping your PPP customers up at night

7/10/2020
5 Things Keeping Your PPP Customers Up at Night

Helping your small-business customers navigate PPP loan forgiveness requires equal parts operational efficiency and personal empathy.

Your small-business customers are looking to you to help them navigate PPP loan forgiveness. You want to make the process accessible, manageable, and stress-free – not an easy task given the complexity and urgency of the situation. The personal side of the transaction is just as important – helping your customers feel known and valued as individuals and small businesses. Behind every application is a personal story of hard work, sacrifice, and dreams that affect employees, livelihoods, and communities.

With so many unknowns, which issues are the most pressing for your customers? What’s keeping them up at night? Through discussions we’ve had in our own communities as well as with our banking and credit union clients, we’re hearing about the concerns and struggles facing many small-business owners. Five stand out. We hope this will help you better understand your customer and provide an exceptional customer experience.

1. Worry about the future.

1. Worry about the future 

Your customers are likely worried about the process, nervous that they won’t get it right, unsure what (if any) amount will be forgiven, and concerned about after-the-loan SBA audits. They could be worried about additional scrutiny if their name becomes public. Their ideal scenario? The entire PPP loan will be forgiven with the click of a button and it will all go away.

2. Constant change 

PPP rules, forms, and processes have changed quite a bit since the program was introduced. Who has the time to stay on top of the latest announcements while running a business in such stressful times? Your customers need your expertise and guidance to help clear the clutter.
2. Constant change.
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3. Confusing information.

3. Confusing information 

From lenders, news outlets, and the rumor mill, borrowers are hearing everything from silence to rapidly changing stories to misinformation. They are worried about their future and need consistent, thoughtful information about the next steps in the PPP forgiveness process.

4. Questions without answers 

The forgiveness process is a moving target with many unanswered questions. When can they start? Will their loan be forgiven? If a loan is unused, can a business simply give it back? What will they do if their loan isn’t forgiven? A step in the right direction is clear, frequently updated lender FAQs.
4. Questions without answers.
5. Finding a path forward.

5. Finding a path forward 

Customers are asking how to move forward given so much ambiguity. Does the newer 24-week runway help their business? Can they concentrate on keeping the doors open and come back to loan forgiveness later? If their loan isn’t forgiven, what’s next? Selling the business or bankruptcy? They need a trusted adviser to walk them through the options. 
From your perspective, the PPP forgiveness process is rapidly changing and complex. From your customers’ perspective, it’s riddled with doubt. Helping small businesses navigate PPP loan forgiveness is the right thing to do – but it can also help you retain valued customers, minimize other loan losses, and reduce reputational risk. The more you can do to support customers in tumultuous times, the stronger they, and you, will be in the long term. 
 
In both ordinary times and moments of crisis, clear and consistent communication is key to your success. You can count on Crowe to help you break through the noise and confusion with a trusted, exceptional customer experience. Our structured communication templates help customers understand that you are here to walk them through the process, guide them through the changes, and adapt your support to each of their unique stories. 
 
Learn how Crowe can help you better serve your customers by adding operational efficiency and personal empathy at every touch point.
 
Establish a great customer experience with a well-designed PPP loan forgiveness process. 

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Michael Budinger - Large
Michael Budinger
Principal