Why Banks are not great at Social Media

Thursday 28th, January 2016

problems photoThere was a news report some time ago about a Bank that had decided to try a new marketing angle. The Bank was trying to sell women a credit card and sent them mailers which said that they could now be as impulsive as they wanted.

The message didn’t quite have the results the Bank hoped it would.

Insulting.

Tasteless.

Disturbing.

Outright disgusting.

Those were some of the words the Bank’s customers left on its Facebook page.

What was worse is that the Bank did not do a good job at assuaging those irate customers or sorting the issue out – they just shut the page down.

It does appear that this is just one tiny example of Banks doing the Social Media thing all wrong.

  • Banks have the right idea – they want to go online in order to build a community of their customers who will be loyal to them. But the way they do it is all wrong. They post boring, generic stuff on their pages (websites or their social media pages) – nothing different from the others. Their websites are boring. No fresh perspective. Nothing interesting. That kind of thing won’t really work. It is not going to keep your own customers coming back for more, nor will it make the customers of the competition to contemplate making a switch.
  • Banks hope to be easily accessible to their customers through Social Media. They hope to get real and really connect with them. But they don’t have a strategy in place – what kind of information can you share on a forum such as this, for instance? Is the information sensitive? So when a customer has a question or an issue that needs clarifying, very often the executive in charge of these pages has no clue what to say. And when a customer gets a reply that doesn’t satisfy him or answer his question, the situation can quickly spiral out of control, for all the world to see.
  • The whole idea of Social Media is for interaction – customer service can be taken to a whole new level through this medium. So when a bank gets on social media, the idea is to quickly communicate with their customers – tell them any information they want to, and address any issues that they raise. While the information disbursal happens normally without a hitch, responses to issues raised by customers are not always addressed quickly. Or addressed at all. This is dangerous. Customers lose interest. Or it can backfire into making a customer hostile. He might just take his business elsewhere.
  • The customer of today is evolved – he wants and gets omnichannel engagement from other vendors and he expects the same from a bank as well. He has a smartphone uses it! Banks are not ready to handle this kind of thing just yet.

At the end of the day, banks and Social Media seem like unlikely bedfellows. The scope is tremendous. When the power of Social Media is harnessed, the sky is the limit. But it has to be handled correctly. Some banks are doing this – and several others are following suit – stepping gingerly into an unknown plane.

The upside is that the potential is great – with the right strategy and the right moves, banks can truly go far.

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