You don’t need to be a genius to work out that the way we manage our lives is changing at a rapid pace. With always-on Internet and a slew of new devices constantly hitting the market, no sooner have we figured out one new way to do something than a whole new one crops up and changes everything.
Nowhere is this more true than when it comes to our finances. Just when most of us had finally gotten used to sitting down at our home computers to tackle online banking, along came the rise of smartphones and mobile apps, and we’re back to learning a brand new process over.
Yet it seems that for some, managing money on the move isn’t enough.
According to the 2014 World Banking Report as little as just 41.7 percent of 18-34 were happy with the service they received from their bank. With 89% active on at least one social media platform, a large proportion of those surveyed were clamouring for a more social experience in handling their finances.
Not that the banks themselves are always eager to please on this front. A report carried out by The Financial Brand suggests that as many as 67% of banking institutions who once experimented with microblogging platform Twitter have since abandoned the service entirely.
This is especially baffling when you consider that most banks are actually becoming a lot more tech-savvy, investing in financial software services to connect with their customers on the move.
Whatever the reason, these non-social organisations are missing out on a huge opportunity to compete in a marketplace that has come to rely more and more on web platforms.
Having experienced rapid response service from online giants like Amazon, Google and eBay, customers expect to receive the same level of support wherever they turn and whatever they do online.
If one bank fails to provide this kind of quick-fire, same-day customer service, the likelihood grows that those customers will abscond to one that does.
The evidence speaks for itself. According The Guardian, Halifax came out tops in the 2014 Battle of the Banks, with over 65,000 customers switching their current accounts to the Lloyds subsidiary. A quick peek at their Twitter profile, with over 9,000 followers, reveals a strong commitment to answering customer enquiries via social media.
By the same token, Clydesdale Bank – which The Guardian reports gained just over a thousand new customers but lost as much as 8,000 plus – could claim only 194 followers on a Twitter account predominantly used for self-promotion.
Sure, other factors must come into play here, but is it really a coincidence that those banks using social media effectively are enjoying greater levels of success than those who aren’t?
Hardly. Consider just about any brand using platforms like Twitter and Facebook to their full potential, then compare them to a leading competitor lacking a solid social media presence. Throughout any number of industries, the results are the same: Those companies who use social media as a customer service tool generally do better than those who don’t.
All that being said, providing an alternative to traditional customer service approaches isn’t the only reason banks can gain by plugging into the social climate.
It’s often said that one of the greatest things about the Internet is that it gives everybody a voice. For better or worse, scores of people are choosing to use that voice to discuss their experiences in dealing with brands of all shapes and sizes.
For banks, this is especially true.
Consider our poor friends at Clydesdale for example. Searching for their Twitter account whilst researching this article, the top search engine result was not the company’s official account, but one created by a disgruntled user, and dedicated to tweeting about Clydesdale’s poor service.
How have the bank responded? Apparently they haven’t. Again, this is baffling when you consider that they have all the tools at their disposal to check what customers are saying about them and work to restore their reputation in the eyes of the online masses.
If a customer has anything to say about your service, there’s a strong chance they’ll say it online. Thanks to social media, your brand can join in that conversation, thanking customers for kind feedback and responding appropriately when things aren’t going quite so smoothly. That is, until the next development comes along and changes everything again.
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