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Connecting to customers: going social

According to our recent research, over half of banking consumers (58%) now avoid calling their bank’s customer services team, preferring to use social media instead. This revelation clearly highlights the appetite for both consumers and banks to use social media as a customer service tool. With two thirds of the UK population on Facebook and 30% on Twitter, how are banks leveraging the power of social media to boost engagement and increase efficiencies?

According to our research, one in ten people say they have contacted their bank via social media to complain. This can be a problem as private complaint calls now become public tweets, potentially visible to thousands. However, there is no doubt that customer services over social media can be hugely beneficial, offering a convenient, direct and personal method of communication. Yet, to retain a valued and popular social media presence, the presiding factor is to ensure consistent engagement and regular, efficient interaction with customers. 

On Twitter, HSBC responds to a staggering 85% of complaints and questions around the clock, with an average response rate of 30 minutes. In addition to this, banks such as Barclays and NatWest have created social accounts specific to customer service, generating over 20,000 followers and high engagement rates.

Fidor Bank is a prime example of social media banking success. This online only bank, which offers a full range of products, prides itself on its ability to listen to customers. It does this through its online community of 250,000 members who exchange opinions, advice and comments.  For example, Fidor offers customers cash bonuses for sharing saving tips or rating financial advisers via the online community.

Evidence suggests there are advantages in using social media as the bank’s main customer service tool. We have come to an age where customers expect an increased level of disclosure, peer review and transparency from their financial services providers. Social media offers the perfect medium by which to do this and in an age where it is rapidly becoming consumers’ primary method of communication, financial services institutions need to ensure their customer service channels are keeping up with customer communication trends.



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