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The things that come to mind when thinking about your typical bank experience can include the following: long lines, hidden fees, and other miscellaneous charges showing up on account statements. Banks have started to notice that many customers take their frustrations online and, particularly on social media platforms, voice their opinions on unpleasant experiences. Banks are one of the oldest institutions in business and due to heavy regulation have often been slow to adapt to new technologies. However, banking is still a service at its core and customers will inevitably have mixed reactions based on how satisfied they are with services received.
According to Katie Robinson, VP of Strategic Innovation at FIS, banks and credit unions need to figure out social channels, because they are here to stay. “Despite the risks associated with social media,” she says, “financial institutions need to learn how to leverage appropriate social media platforms to listen to and converse with their customers to remain relevant – especially with today’s younger, vocal consumers.” And rightly so, most retail banks are servicing a more tech savvy demographic. Fortunately, larger banks and credit unions have realized there is more to gain with a strong social media strategy than without.
Social media platforms are one of the most efficient ways to interact with customers. Consider Chase bank’s Twitter account for customer support. The group of 10, recruited from other customer service departments within the company, responds to a wide range of questions, concerns and even rants at @chasesupport. Bianca Buckridee, social media operations manager, says of their 140 character responses to complaints, “They’re often surprised when we reach out to them.” It’s all about over-delivery and letting your customers know that you’re just one tweet away if they need help.
Social media interaction is much cheaper and even better for the environment than traditional means of outreach. According to 41pounds.org, more than 100 million trees are destroyed each year producing junk mail. 42% of timber harvested nationwide becomes pulpwood for paper on top of the 70 hours wasted each year dealing with junk mail. Facebook and Twitter pages are free and a faster way of communicating with customers. And since more people than ever have smartphones, social media is even more accessible. Of course every business is different, and online marketing should be specifically catered to the audience and product/service you are selling, but take a lesson from these banks and give social media customer service a chance.
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