September 23, 2010

In an article for Reuters, Matt Colebrook, CEO of first direct, an online banking subsidiary of HSBC, describes the future of banking, and social media will play a large part in it, he feels. "Social media carries fluffy connotations as it is often looked upon as something of a fad," he writes in the article. "The question on the lips of every skeptic is ‘What's the ROI of a social media strategy?'"

Colebrook argues that social media's ‘return' for a bank shouldn't be measured in profits, but in "engagement, awareness and actions."

Looking to the future I think the chance to listen, learn and engage better with consumers via the social web is something banks must take notice of. People will expect unparalleled levels of accessibility and banks must be able to provide a regular flow of interactive and easily shareable information for anyone who wants to access it. This is where I see financial institutions adding value to their offering; focusing on customer care and service; using social media to make this accessibility effortless.

The social web gives both customers and non-customers a voice; a place where they can be heard both by brands and each other. For us in the banking industry it provides the perfect arena; we can see ‘gripes' and ‘niggles' and whether these are collective or individual they allow us to source discontent, which provides food for thought in how we can make things better.

[According to Wiktionary, a niggle is a "minor complaint or problem"]

Below is a video of Colebrook sharing some of his thoughts on the future of banking: