Banks Seek Reinvention Via Social Media

by , Feb 29, 2012, 9:53 PM
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Some banks and other financial services firms are using social media to change their image, according to a new research report by Change Sciences Group.

However, most banks and other financial services firms are woefully behind the social media curve. Customer questions and complaints in social media circles go unaddressed or are addressed in inauthentic ways.

Gone are the days when companies didn’t have to worry that someone will hear about a bad customer experience. Now, a disgruntled customer can easily and quickly broadcast their story across Facebook and Twitter, according to the New York-based Internet researchers.

Of the 22 banks evaluated, the three that are the most on top of social media are Ally, USAA and Ameriprise.

One thing that the top three are doing is being consistent across social media sites, says Steve Ellis, a partner at Change Sciences Group. “With social media it's a full-court press,” Ellis tells Marketing Daily. “Half measures don't work well.”

Each social media venue has its own purpose and context for financial services, he says. “Twitter can be used and has been used as a viable channel for answering customer's questions. Since it is public, it has the added benefit of letting a financial institution show how well it treats and responds to customers.”

Companies covered in the report include Ally, America First, Ameriprise, Bank of America, BB&T, BECU, Capital One, Chase, Citi, EverBank, HSBC, ING Direct, Navy Federal, PNC, PNC Virtual Wallet, Schwab, SunTrust, TD Bank, TIAA-CREF, US Bank, USAA, and Wells Fargo.

The report's biggest finding is that some firms are going a step further and are using social media to do nothing short of reinventing their brand and rebuilding trust with a wary consumer.

"We're moving into a new era of personal fiscal responsibility,” says Pamela Pavliscak, a Change Sciences Partner, and one of the report's authors. “Part of this trend is people banding together online to encourage things like saving, budgeting, and smart investing. Financial firms are beginning to think of ways to tap into this, and social media is the place where it's happening."

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