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It matters little whether you’re a shoe retailer or an online bank, if your brand operates a social channel, consumers will want to talk to you on it.
As I discovered in last week’s investigation into how 20 top UK retailers handle social customer service, the most successful brands are the ones that are not only quick to respond, but also genuinely helpful and clearly written with personality.
This is all well and good in retail, where perhaps it’s more acceptable to adopt a more relaxed, fun tone of voice, but how difficult is it for a financial services brand to not only maintain an efficient customer service channel that fully complies with banking regulations that’s also human?
Today I talked to senior communications manager Amanda Brown at First Direct to gain some insight into how the online and telephone based bank handles customers on social.
Last week I conducted an investigation into how 20 top UK retailers handle social customer service. It was a fascinating insight into the world of Twitter customer care and revealed just how a consumer’s experience can vary from brand to brand.
This week I’m turning my attention to retail banking.
Earlier today I interviewed First Direct’s senior communications manager Amanda Brown and learnt some best practice tips as well as guidance on what to expect from aiming a Twitter enquiry towards a bank.
Will I experience the same level of personality as I did with non-banking retail brands? Will I have to be taken to a more secure channel? Will the banking industry just be too busy to answer my question?
Let’s find out…
When you think of Tumblr, you probably think of edgy creative images and striking visuals. You probably don’t think about your bank.
But at first direct, we’re just about to launch a new Tumblr channel to showcase ourselves in a slightly different space, a space which is not particularly a ‘bank space’, a space which is unexpected.
Generally, people’s impressions of banks aren’t too positive. The credit crunch, banker’s bonuses, overdraft fees and call centre queues are some common negative associations in people’s minds.
However, digital does offer some opportunities for banks to improve the way they are perceived, by helping them to improve the overall customer experience.
‘Firstdirect is like the platypus of banks, a little bit different’. This is correct, and the ad can be considered a televisual success.
However, online, apart from a well-deployed and anonymous teaser video, the campaign’s lack of fecundity is its main similarity with the platypus.
I’ve had a little look at this curate’s egg of a campaign, with some good and bad bits revealed.
A colleague passed something on to me last week: HootSuite’s CEO Ryan Holmes' quote on social in regulated industries – “For highly regulated sectors like finance, social media can be a legal minefield”.
Whilst this isn’t anything new, I guess it goes without saying marketers in regulated sectors are the most cautious of our breed.
Last month, Brian Solis pulled together a list of strategic investment priorities for Facebook to invest in post-IPO.
Interestingly, one glaring omission was a revised model/or strategy for working with advertisers...
A Reputation Institute 2011 survey found that a company’s CSR programme (in its broadest sense), can be responsible for more than 40% of a company’s reputation, whilst companies with stronger social leadership programs have 55% better internal morale and 43% more efficient business processes. T
his is added to the fact that highly engaged employees have three times the operating margin.
Last month first direct launched its @firstdirecthelp Twitter feed, to provide customer service support through the site.
Though it’s early days for the bank famous for its innovative use of social media (specifically first direct live and the first direct Labs) – we take a closer look at the things it’s doing right.
Within first direct, there is an understanding that social media is a channel we should be developing and engaging in, so in essence, that ‘internal sell’ is the easy bit.
The hard part however, is overcoming the way people think about regulation and compliance, and having both the confidence and strategy to feel comfortable working within these confines.
I don’t think I’m being too controversial when I say that, over the last few years, trust in the banking system, banks and bankers (three very different things that have been unhelpfully lumped together by the mainstream media narrative), has taken a battering.
The financial sector as a whole has huge job to do and in my view, social media is going to play a key part in getting it done.
This post will look at two key issues around trust and social media: how to measure it and how to build it.
In a series of three posts about first direct, I've been talking to key figures at the bank about its integration of social media.
In the final part, head of marketing Paul Say talks about how changes in online behaviour affect the way companies engage with the outside world, and the social media projects undertaken by the company.