That’s because – more than any other banking channel – social media is all about the customer experience.
However, taking a customer centric view is not going to be easy for most banks. In part, that is because banking communications have traditionally been either been one-way (advertising, direct mail, statements, etc) or one-on-one (customer service, branch banking, telephone banking, etc). As a result, many banks may be unprepared for the changes that must occur to make social media strategies succeed.
Walking in the customer’s shoes
Let’s take a look at how an average customer might view interactions with their bank over social media. First, they probably only want to deal with one ‘company’ profile rather than multiple divisions. For banks, this means developing a ‘single view’ of the customer so that frontline social media employees are able to serve customer needs efficiently across the various divisions and businesses.
Customers will expect their banks to be responsive to their needs over social media. Given the immediacy of social media tools like Twitter, customers have come to expect that their social interactions will elicit an immediate (or at the very least, rapid) response. This has two implications for banks: frontline staff will need to be empowered to make immediate decisions; and information will need to be available in real-time for employees to properly address customer concerns.
Building relationships based on trust
Most importantly, however, is that customers will expect their banks to be more transparent in all of their interactions over social media.
This not only means providing customers with more information, it also requires the bank to be open to criticism – even encourage it – in order to provide a better customer experience. This will call for something of a culture shift within the bank that must start at the top and permeate down to the frontline staff.
Building a community
They will also expect to gain some unique value from engaging with their bank over social media. In some cases, this may simply be a better customer experience or faster response time. But it may also offer banks an opportunity to differentiate themselves. Banks may consider the ‘gameification’ of financial services (for example, a tool that allows customers to play with different investment scenarios), or even incentivization (say, providing a better rate to customers who apply through social channels).
More active social network users may also welcome a ‘community’ aspect to the bank’s offerings. In fact, this may provide one of the biggest opportunities for banks: experience in the telco industry shows that peer-to-peer customer support can generate not only significant cost savings for companies, but also provide faster (and sometimes more personal) issue resolution. What’s more, those customers that provide peer support are more likely to be advocates of the bank and may be harnessed as net promoters in the future.
But banks will also need to remember that customers can be fickle. New channels and services will certainly emerge to enhance (or even replace) existing networks, even as customer expectations become more sophisticated.
Clearly, taking a customer-centric view of social media is going to be a long-term strategy.
By Marty Carroll, KPMG in the UK
||Andrew Dickinson As Marty points out, customers using social media often expect near-instantaneous responses. The biggest challenge for banks is being able to respond in near-instantaneous timeframes which will require them to breakdown the old school communication between departments and become truly customer centric. Thought also needs to be given to the skill set of the people monitoring and responding to comments or tweets and how they are empowered to respond. For many, this will require significant participation from the Customer Services teams who – by their very nature – are often more attuned to what customers want and need in their interactions with banks. |
|| Developing this type of customer-centric view will surely be a challenge for both large and small banks. For global powerhouses, the challenge will be in developing a one-on-one relationship with thousands, sometimes even millions, of customers and stakeholders. For smaller banks, it will largely be a challenge of resources as social media keeps operating long after banks’ traditional operating hours thereby necessitating 24/7 monitoring and response. These are considerations that must be carefully assessed before banks join in the social media discourse. |
|| Today, most social media strategies are largely reactive with some banks paying lip service to issues and complaints in real time but not making enough effort to engage customers in a deeper conversation. Taking the strategy to the next level will require banks to develop not only strong insight into what customers want, but what they – as highly regulated entities – can effectively offer. There is no value in deploying a service that can’t be maintained or starting a conversation that ends once the bank closes for the day. |
||Gareth Jones Being transparent, as Marty notes, will be key, particularly when it comes to leveraging social media for crisis management. Banks that have not incurred the trust of their customers through their daily interaction over social media cannot expect to have a strong voice over social networks during a crisis. Transparency is a day-to-day endeavor and cannot be switched on and off as the tides change. |
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of KPMG International or any KPMG member firm.