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Banks Are Boring on Social Media

A report from Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group polled consumers on their experience with financial institutions on social media.

A majority of consumers believe that banks' use of social media is ineffective, according to findings from a poll released today by Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group.

The firm polled 1,002 U.S. consumers online in an attempt to to uncover the important drivers for financial institutions to be successful in managing customer complaints and social media preparedness. Fifty-two percent of those who responded said they believe the use of social media by banks is ineffective, while 87 percent reported banks are "annoying, boring or unhelpful" on social media.

This is largely due to the messaging many banks present on social media channels, explains Dr. Patricia Sahm, CG’s Customer Experience and Channels practice lead.

Social media is about transparency, and if a bank's response to a customer's inquiry on social media isn't transparent or relevant it will come off as sounding unhelpful, she says. "Banks need to make their customers feel like they've resolved whatever problem there is and not give an ambiguous answer," Sahm notes.

As an example of what not to do on social media, Sahm cites one customer's story of sending a tweet at a bank alerting them that their mobile banking app was down, and the bank simply responded to the customer telling them to call an 800 number with no further information. That then led to the customer to complain about the bank on Twitter.

Even if a bank can't solve a problem immediately on social media, it should still give the customer as much information as possible and update them on when it will be solved. Banks that do rate highly on social media generally follow a model Sahm describes thusly: "They have a centralized social media team that can quickly reach out to the various subject matter experts at the bank to help answer customer questions quickly. Enabling your social media team to have really good, and quick, access to all the expertise in the bank, and access to data that sits in various stores across the enterprise, helps them answer customer questions or complaints much better."

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Sahm acknowledges that banks do face an inherent disadvantage on social media compared to other industries, namely that "financial services products may not be the most exciting thing people are thinking about every day." But that still does not absolve them of doing social media well, since it is often the channel customers use most to lodge complaints. According to the survey, one in three consumers would use social media to complain, with 54 percent saying Facebook would be the channel they would do so on. That was followed by Twitter at 18 percent, LinkedIn at 12 percent and blogs at 10 percent.

Sahm says that the responses to the survey were generally the same across age and demographic lines, meaning its not just one subset of customers banks have to worry about on social media.

Ultimately, says Sahm, regardless of the channel it is imperative for banks to resolve problems as quickly as they can for their customers.

"The minute it seems like you're not resolving the problem, it can very rapidly deteriorate the relationship," she adds.

[Related Content: How Banks Can Stay On Top of Customer Expectations]

Bryan Yurcan is associate editor for Bank Systems and Technology. He has worked in various editorial capacities for newspapers and magazines for the past 8 years. After beginning his career as a municipal and courts reporter for daily newspapers in upstate New York, Bryan has ... View Full Bio

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Jonathan_Camhi
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Jonathan_Camhi,
User Rank: Author
3/24/2014 | 5:21:30 PM
re: Banks Are Boring on Social Media
I think the needle is starting to move on customers' willingness to let banks use their social media for marketing purposes. In the end that will depend on the offer you present to the customer. If it's a great and relevant offer than they'll see value in allowing that use of their data. If not then there's going to be some angry customers.
Jonathan_Camhi
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Jonathan_Camhi,
User Rank: Author
3/24/2014 | 5:19:00 PM
re: Banks Are Boring on Social Media
I think that banks are shy about admitting to some problems like this for competitive reasons. If you can't maintain the functionality of your mobile app for your customers then they will go elsewhere for their banking.
Jonathan_Camhi
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Jonathan_Camhi,
User Rank: Author
3/24/2014 | 5:17:30 PM
re: Banks Are Boring on Social Media
That's also true during natural disasters. A lot of banks were communicating with customers through Twitter during Hurricane Sandy.
Greg MacSweeney
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Greg MacSweeney,
User Rank: Author
3/24/2014 | 2:27:47 PM
re: Banks Are Boring on Social Media
As soon as any app or service goes down, people turn to twitter to find out what's happening. Recently, when my bank's website was really slow, i found out through twitter that it was having problems When google, hootsuite or facebook has problems, people turn to twitter or other social media to find out what's happening. It's foolish for a bank to avoid admitting it has a technical problem...everyone sees what's happening anyway.
Kelly22
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Kelly22,
User Rank: Author
3/20/2014 | 8:21:41 PM
re: Banks Are Boring on Social Media
Avoiding a complaint about the app seems weird to me since users are inevitably going to find out about it (until it's fixed, anyway). That scenario could have less to do with avoidance and more to do with having an automated response system for the Twitter account.
IvySchmerken
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IvySchmerken,
User Rank: Author
3/20/2014 | 7:21:39 PM
re: Banks Are Boring on Social Media
Banks should be honest with their customers if a mobile app is down. I wonder if compliance has anything to do with avoiding that admission and preferring to keep it quiet. Of course this backfires in the long run.
Kelly22
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Kelly22,
User Rank: Author
3/20/2014 | 6:42:13 PM
re: Banks Are Boring on Social Media
Very true, it does depend on the question. In response to a tweet saying their mobile app is down, I feel like the bank could have at least let them know they were working on the problem or given something a bit more personalized than a phone number. For longer answers, social media fans would probably be better off using Facebook.
Becca L
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Becca L,
User Rank: Author
3/20/2014 | 5:46:38 PM
re: Banks Are Boring on Social Media
Interesting... Can somebody translate?..
Becca L
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Becca L,
User Rank: Author
3/20/2014 | 5:44:56 PM
re: Banks Are Boring on Social Media
Customers must have some lowered level of expectation when engaging with banks over Twitter knowing they can't get too specific or answer questions related to their personal account. Their answers are also limited by 140 characters! Agreed that directing to 800 numbers is a bit extreme, but it does beg the question, what did the person ask?
Becca L
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Becca L,
User Rank: Author
3/20/2014 | 5:42:24 PM
re: Banks Are Boring on Social Media
To me, Twitter is an avenue of convenience. Sending a tweet to a bank asking for information - knowing they are likely to respond within minutes - may actually be faster and easier than looking up an answer yourself. Especially if on the run, it's understandably convenient to compose a tweet @BankofAmerica than opening a web browser, typing in the question and clicking around.

If I tweet BofA as I'm going to work, and receive direction to the right website or phone number via tweet by the time I get out of the subway I'd consider it time saved.
<<   <   Page 2 / 3   >   >>
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