I'm been thinking a lot about our fair Natalie lately. One thing you hear about, frequently, is that banks are hesitant to engage with social media because 'why would we open ourselves up to abuse from the public?'
Some may see the fate of NewCastle, UK resident Natalie Westerman - whose unfortunate Twitter ID was @natwest - as evidence that it is difficult to be a person on Twitter. But I see her reaction as just the opposite.
When RBS and National Westminster Bank started having their well-publicised IT meltdown last week - poor Natalie started getting a barrage of Tweets from disgruntled customers.
Now - here is my point - instead of Tweeting 'F*&%-off Twats, I'm not the bank!' (like, a-hem...I might have done) Natalie calmly, and very patiently, directed people to the official bank account (@natwest_help), defended her nickname and updated her host
of *new* followers on, what must have been a strange couple of days. "'A nice woman from @natwest_help just called to help sort this out".
Sadly, Natalie seems to have taken her account down.
However, I think Natalie's behaviour and experience should serve as a lesson to banks' customer service and PR teams. When faced with an avalanche of negative information on social media - respond like a person, not like a corporate, PR-approved, broadcasting
robot. (well...a polite and patient person anyway :-)