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Customer Experience and Design

Can Social Media Improve a Bank’s Customer Service?

While social media can have a large impact on the sales and marketing side, I believe the largest potential for this type of technology lies in customer service.  Like any customer service endeavor, it takes effort to address issues as they arise.  This effort can be categorized in two ways: listening and responding.


Most banks are geared up for responding to issues in a reactive fashion.  Someone calls the customer service center and complains.  Someone has a problem and comes to a local branch of retail branch.  In this model, the bank relies on the customer specifically communicating with you.  Under this model, you job was easier. (Notice  I don’t say easy)  Someone notified you of their problem.  Under a social media paradigm, you no longer have the luxury of just hanging out.  Let me give you a few examples from twitter or facebook.

  • Customer stands in line and tweets it or adds it to their facebook status.  They complain if it’s a really long line.  (See KPMG’s social conversation with RBS.)
  • Customer tweets, “Wow, a new fee for my account, anyway to change my account to get rid of the fee #mylocalbank?” or the more negative, “#mylocalbank just added a new fee to my account, can’t wait to change banks”
  • Customer blogs about how their credit card number was stolen and how they lost a lot of time and money.  In the account, they reference the credit card issuer multiple times……………none of it good.

The various social media channels can register many different problems.  Banks in general have a problem.  Jesse Torres at his social media banking blog, references an amplicate report that 83% of opinions of major banks are negative.  He suggests they may need to develop a thick skin.  For many banks, your question shouldn’t be whether or not to monitor these streams but in how you should listen.

How do I listen?

Listening can range from a variety of simple tools to systems whose sole purpose is to listen and respond.  Here are some examples.

  1. Do manual searches on the various channels (twitter, facebook, Google, Bing, etc.) for mentions
  2. Automate some of these using tools like
    1. Social Mention
    2. Google News
  3. Monitoring tools that let you view multiple channels and see what’s being said.  They may also help you respond across multiple channels but we will get to that in a later post.
    1. Hootsuite has a nice tool for that.  It ranges from free to more expensive as your needs evolve.
    2. Sysomos
    3. Visible Technologies
  4. Tools that go beyond simple monitoring and start to let you understand sentiment about what’s being said and trends.
    1. Many view Radian 6 as the cadillac of sentiment analysis, listening and engagement.
    2. Amplicate helps understand what people love and hate in the social world.


Other Resources

There’s alway more information out there that provides a wealth of knowledge. Here are a few.

  • Whitepaper by SAS, the analytics company
  • Radian 6 has an ebook library on primers for the whole social media subject. It ranges from defining social media policies to listening to dealing with brand crisis.  They are all well written and succinct.


Let me finish by saying that it’s possible to improve your customer service.  You start just by listening and you have a diverse set of tools available that range from free to fairly expensive.  In many ways, you may be forced to proactively listen and engage but that listening and engagement represent an opportunity as well as additional work for you.

Next I’ll talk to engagement.

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Michael Porter

Mike Porter leads the Strategic Advisors team for Perficient. He has more than 21 years of experience helping organizations with technology and digital transformation, specifically around solving business problems related to CRM and data.

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