The below article was published in Qatar Today magazine- Jan 2012 issue. The article is about how can banks manage customer relationships online without just talking about banking and being innovative. Click on the below pics to continue reading.
I am a Bank; Iam Boring
Financial Institutions are perceived to be not innovative and creative when it comes to Online Media and technology. Due to certain regulations and reputation issues, they have been a step behind other industries to make their presence felt online.
Let us explore few ideas that can help you gain foothold in the Online Conversations and interact with your customers.
I recently attended a panel discussion, where a question was raised on how to deal with customer issues raised on your social media channels. Panelists were convinced on the methodology of trying to contact the customer to get details of the problem and acknowledge the issue. Post understanding the issue, commit on resolving the same.
What if your bank’s customer service still gets criticized online even though you have taken efforts to engage with your customers online? Well, then you have to investigate the case and invest in enhancing your customer service. Online media is just another channel to communicate with your customer.
A few more ideas: -
Don’t just talk about banking
If you expect to build a relationship with your customer, you need to talk about various other topics that can build a conversation on social networking sites. If a customer needs to know about your products and offers, they can always go to your public website.
You can use Social Media tools to change the mean and greedy perception of Financial Institutions.
Check out Lloyds Bank Facebook Page. They are talking about the upcoming London Olympics with a countdown ticker. This has got nothing to do with banking. These initiatives create friendly online conversation and interaction that may not be facilitated by a bank otherwise.
Be a Startup Mentor
Have you ever thought about nourishing the potential young talent to form large enterprises? How about offering some advice on launching a start up? A bank has the financial capability and the expertise to mentor start ups. Use your online channels to give tips to people interested in learning more about the enterprise world. Your investment banking arm may probably fund the next Google or Apple.
Show you CSR initiatives.
Have you done something for the community, how about informing people via your Social Media Channels? Do you want volunteers for a CSR initiative, ask for it on your Social Media Channels and watch the response. Check out the Bank of America Page, asking for people who would like to volunteer for their “Building Opportunity” initiative.
Many financial institutions are involved in charity initiatives that go unnoticed. Their projects are not covered in the media and an average customer is not aware about these initiatives. Social Networks are great online tools to tell your customers about these projects and strengthen your brand.
Giveaways for your Online Fans
Customers love participating in competitions. This initiative encourages them to follow your brand online. Host a few competitions for your Social Media Channel Fans. Check out the Citi Bank Facebook page. They are giving an opportunity for their fans to win cash or jam with their favorite band.
How about offering your online fans a $ discount or a coupon to dine at their favorite restaurant.
I wanted to get a feel on what do people expect from their banks in Doha on Social Media Channels. Following is a summarized version of various comments I got from people on Twitter in Doha.
People expect their bank to be more interactive and provide online support for issues. They want instant answers to their queries and special offers for following/liking the brand. Many twitteratis complained that the banks never responded to their queries. Surprisingly, few of them replied that they were not interested in having a conversation with their bank on social networks, as banks are only meant to manage their money, not their relationship. There lies an opportunity for the banks to show that they can manage human relationships and just not financial ones.
Online surveillance of social-networking sites is a new trend for traders dealing in hedge funds and big banks managing customer assets. Stocktwits is a social, stock micro-blogging service monitoring emotions of stock market traders. You will find a community of traders and investors sharing market insight, ideas, charts and news streaming in real-time. This is true engagement of Financial Marketing with Online Media. An investment company, Derwent Capital Markets, has launched a £25 million hedge fund that will use the sentiment of Twitter messages to help guide its trading strategy
As we look forward to 2012, Financial Institution will continue to heavily invest in the Social Media and Interactive Marketing, and work on the revenues.
There is a strong possibility of structural changes in many organizations, where by Digital Channels, e-Marketing and e-Business will fall under one umbrella.