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BNP Paribas Innovates Again and Becomes the First Major French Bank to Launch a Twitter Account Dedicated to Customer Support

Social media banking. BNP Paribas Innovates Again and Becomes the First Major French Bank to Launch a Twitter Account Dedicated to Customer Support. Social customer care.

Yesterday, Frank Desvignes – Director Internet & Mobile at BNP Paribas Retail France and his team launched @BNPParibas_SAV, the very first twitter account dedicated to customer support in the banking industry in France.
Obviously, the account is not only dedicated to BNPP’s existing customers but also to prospective ones.

This summer, Frank (@FrankDesvignes) asked me to conduct an indepth audit of BNP Paribas’ facebook page, BNP Paribas Net, and their twitter account @BNPPARIBAS_NET, and share my recommendations on their community management strategy.

I also delivered a bespoke report on customer support strategy on twitter in the banking industry with a detailed review of the Top 10 most followed accounts focused on this topic from my Visible Banking Twitter Watch series. It is great to see this project materialising “so quickly” in the risk adverse and highly regulated (French) banking industry.

Frank has a deep understanding of the internet and a passion for innovation. He is always keen to see BNP Paribas become the first bank in France, and if possible in Europe and the world, to launch new innovative initiatives in the digital space. Once more, under Frank’s leadership, BNP Paribas became the first bank to innovate online, this time on twitter.

Like the launch of the iPad application in May 2010, this is another contribution to the strategic goal BNP Paribas defined in 2009: becoming the leader in online banking by 2012.

For transparency sake, I came across many French bankers who challenged the level of sophistication of some of BNP Paribas’ initiatives such as their iPad application. Some of them labelling it “a marketing coup” more than a market defining initiative. Several other French banks developped iPad applications which were meant to fully leverage the device, hence their inability to launch before the summer. Needless to say that most of these banks were aiming to claim the title of 1st bank on iPad too. 😉

@BNPParibas_SAV
Please find below a screenshot taken on 3 November 2010 at about 10am GMT.BNPParibas-Twitter-SupportClientSAV-3November2010

@BNPParibas_SAV is the 22th twitter account from BNP Paribas I am tracking as part of my Visible Banking Twitter Watch series.
This is including accounts from BNPP Retail France, BNPP Insurance, BNPP Personal Finance, in France and abroad, and BNPP’s accounts supporting their sponsorship activites around tennis.

Team Structure, Background, Tools, Opening Hours, and… CALL TO ACTION
So far, the team is composed of four dynamic female agents: Martine, Sylvie, Fabienne and Sophie. Via a system of shifts, they are answering your tweets during some industry standard opening hours: 9am-6pm.

Currently, the team is using twitter.com. I wonder how quickly they will start using a more robust twitter management application such as cotweet or hootsuite.

The background is very similar to the background of @BNPPARIBAS_NET. Shame we can’t find the photos of the agents with their names or initials. If you don’t display at least the initials of the contributors, your customers won’t know they are talking to. There is no mention of guidelines or security reminder.

If we are working together, you attended one of my speaking engagements, or you are familiar with my work on the Visible Banking blog, you know how much I insist on the importance of your call to action, especially on twitter. One of the key value of the popular microblogging site is to be able to direct a tweep to the right piece of content online in a very visible way. An account dedicated to customer support must be as visible, relevant and useful as possible.

For the time being, none of the public tweets posted by the team included an url. Most of the conversation happen via DMs. But this is just the beginning. I am confident BNP Paribas will do better than other accounts such as @LloydsTSBOnline

Please find below the very first tweets on @bnpparibas_sav.
BNPParibas-Twitter-SupportClientSAV-FirstTweets-3November2010Promotion
To maximize the success of your social media initiatives it is critical to promote them on your own “traditional” online assets (such as your homepage, category page, or contacts) and your other social media assets (such as your other twitter accounts, facebook pages, or blogs).

For the time being, Frank’s team sent a few tweets on their main account@BNPPARIBAS_NET.

I didn’t find any mention of the the new twitter account on their homepage,contacts pagenet agence page, or even their immensely followed facebook page BNP Paribas Net.

BNPParibas-Twitter-SupportClientSAV-PromoTwitter-3November2010BNPParibas-Twitter-SupportClientSAV-PromoNetAgence-3November2010BNPParibas-Twitter-SupportClientSAV-PromoContacts-3November2010

My Take
To conclude, I would like to congratulate the BNP Paribas team for their bold move in France. I will be tracking this account and in particular the level of activity, the growth rate, and the quality of public conversations. I must admit that I can’t wait to find out how (and how quickly) some of the other banks, national or regional, will respond to this move.

Customer service is one of the most logical and valuable use of twitter. It comes to no surprise that more and more leading banks in the US, such as Wells Fargo, Bank of America or Citi, are launching customer support accounts and allocate a decent budget and resources to those activities. Their goals: increase Net Promoter Score, change brand sentiment / perception, reduce the volume of inbound calls to their customer care centers.

Interview with Frank Desvignes
Frank contributed to the social media & finance workshop I delivered in Paris in June 2010. I invite you to watch the video interview I shot with him back in May (in French).

Banks Must Support their Customers on Twitter
Please find below the presentation focused on customer support I delivered last year at SOMESSO in Switzerland.

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Please call me (0044 7736 446 357), send me an email (christophe.langlois@visible-banking.com), or DM me (@Visible_Banking).
I am keen to talk to you about twitter, customer reviews, and social media in banking, financial services, and insurance.

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