Last year in the UK, Natwest, RBS, and Ulster Bank suffered technical difficulties which prevented payments from happening over a two-week period, resulting in customers moving online to discuss their shared bad experience. Similarly, customers flocked to social channels to vent their frustrations earlier this year after Visa’s processing system went down across Canada.
Social crises threaten the reputation of brands, and are a challenge for any company on social media. Compounded with tight industry regulations, and the potential risk of exposing confidential information publicly, the financial service industry has been left unsure of how to interact with customers online.
The Banking industry has been active on social media for a while now, but mainly for marketing efforts, with many yet to use it as an additional channel for customer service.
The slow uptake to enter the social space for customer service due to the stringent regulations leaves many, understandably, apprehensive about setting foot into the social sphere – any mistakes made could be costly for both brand reputation and customers.
Earlier this year, however, a major update to the regulatory guidance for social media and financial services was brought forward which finally noted social media as another form of communication, rather than a new form of communication between banks and customers.
There is now a whole section of the Financial Conduct Authority’s handbook on regulation between internet and real time communications. Brands now need to adhere to guidelines including recording and retaining all financial social media communications.
Taking the social plunge
As the general public is becoming more receptive to raising real issues and discussing sensitive information online with brands – albeit privately – as well as the recent update to Twitter’s Direct Message feature, means that banks now have the opportunity to use social media openly to engage with their customers, just like any other industry.
However, there is still some hesitancy to bring transparency into banking through social media. The latest Global Retail Banking Digital Marketing report from the European Financial Marketing Association found that only 35% of banks currently have a Facebook community for customers. 20% are looking to create an online community within the next three years, and shockingly, a further 20% have no plans at all in this area.
With so many opportunities for the financial industry to benefit from social customer service, why should banks ease up and unleash the full potential of it?
There is a huge opportunity for banks to investigate what is being said by their customers online; and to connect, interact and build positive relationships from it. Are customers happy with the services you provide? Yes or no, you can hear first-hand from the people that matter most to your business.
The direct interactions a brand can have online with customers can help prioritise the products or services your business needs to focus on.
The open transparency of social customer service can help regain customer trust in your employees and brand, and give your customers the relationship they desire.
When a brand decides to offer social customer service, clear processes must be put in place to manage social interactions. Take into consideration the following:
Collaboration – Be open to disperse social customer service responsibilities to other areas in your organisation. This will enable experts across your organisation to share their knowledge and expertise
Approval - Agents’ conversations with customers must fall in line with regulations to prevent not only a social backlash, but legal ramifications. If you’re in the financial sector, you will probably look to consider tighter than standard process around social customer care
Escalation process – It’s important to formalise a process for your social customer service team before they go live to determine how certain messages should be handled. Does a customer issue need to be taken to a private message, another channel, or another team member because of the information it contains?
Full audit trail - This will allow your business to have a complete record of agent activities – who said what and when - and also aid you in gaining a single view of a customer once it is synced up to your CRM system. This is essential for self-preservation and to ensure that social media can match the standards of traditional media for completely accountable records.
Social has changed the face of customer service and also the finance industry’s approach to handling customer concerns online. Putting the right systems in place at the start of your social customer service journey will help you manage and regulate the sensitive information shared between you and your customers. Conversocial’s fully audited workflows support financial brands in effectively and securely managing social customer service interactions, whilst keeping a full log of all actions taken to each post, internal notes and replies.
With the growing demand for social customer support resulting from the rise of the empowered customer, it is time to truly listen to your customers and be where they want you to be.
Download our latest Definitive Guide to Social Customer Service to learn more about how Conversocial can help with your business.