So you have a number of possible tools to use in your marketing and customer relationship management. What next? Where should you invest and how? Frankly, I won’t be able to answer that question for you and banking has some industry specific needs. Instead, I want to focus on examples of engaging the customer and put my thoughts on relevance to social banking.
Let me give you some ideas how other companies do customer support. Notice that in the customer support world, Twitter seems to take precedence.
- Media Temple tweets upgrades, outages, interesting articles, and of course marketing related information.
- Best Buy’s Twelpforce offers technical advice and customer service. Of course, not everything works as planned.
- Bank of America uses Twitter for outage information and to respond to customers complaints. They quickly take issues to direct message (DM) and work to resolve them.
- Moving to the investment world, JP Morgan offers financial advice and access to news via their twitter account.
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So what’s relevant in social banking? Well, I suspect that anything that increases transaction costs would be frowned upon. I don’t see the equivalent of bank tellers setting up shop on Facebook or Twitter. That said, most companies run a call center for those problems that need a person. These same people can use social channels as just another way of helping the customer out.
I also love the idea of giving advice and even notifying of outages. Bank of America does that quite well and it’s great to get updates when your must-have banking tool is out.
Here’s where it can get interesting. There are numerous ways to take advantage of social tools. They represent a fairly cheap way to engage in one to many conversations. Here’s a few ideas:
- Idea Management: If you have a great idea and want feedback on its relevance in the market, then idea management might work out great. Starbucks has listened to customers, made changes, and even launched products from their ideation blog. Note that it’s hosted on the cloud at Force.com.
- In the social world, it’s tried and maybe true to host information on Facebook. Amazon tries really hard to get customers to like their page and give more information in order to win prizes. They also showcase specials of the day.
- Many retail banks have so-so Facebook pages. I think Bank of America does it best with at least some relevant content to bring you back. Chase went a different route entirely and focused their efforts on communities and charitable giving. That put them at the top of the likes for financial institutions. Number two American Express seems to focus on fashion. (I know go figure)
- Pinnacle Bank is the first actual bank to show up in a search for best bank blogs. They must be doing something right. My first guess would be consistency in blogging since September 2010. I mention blogs because I’ve seen that a consistent blog brings trust and confidence in you. Of course, that’s something that’s built over time rather than a quick hit and done. Blogs also lend themselves well to information and advice rather than a marketing oriented approach. Think of it as baseline branding.
You get the idea. These tools can give you lots of ways to make your presence known. They carry some risk but then, we know that any PR or customer interaction carries risk. It’s simply a matter of educating yourself and taking it to the next level.