Yesterday I noticed an update from Italy’s Webank’s facebook page presenting four new twitter accounts dedicated to customer care.
Financial Institutions Must Support Their Customers on Twitter
For the last two years, I’ve stressed out the importance of supporting your customers on twitter, facebook, and any other popular social media sites your customers might use.
And yes, we’ve had other servicing channels like web chat for years and years now and it is reliable, secure and efficient… on a one-to-one basis. Microblogging gives you the unique opportunity to create conversations and buzz in an open environment and in a transparent way. One-to-many. It helps increase retention, drive customer advocacy, and change brand perception… if you do it well.
Webank Innovates Again, but How Efficient Will their Model Be
As part of my Visible Banking Twitter Watch series (now over 1,430 accounts in 70+ countries), we track well over 30 accounts in 10 countries dedicated to customer care. I invite you to check my coverage of@BNPParibas_SAV and @LloydsTSBOnline.
Last year, I created and delivered a comprehensive report on the state of customer care on twitter in the banking industry worldwide: including key insights, opening hours, size of the teams, tools used, content strategy, call-to-action, promotion on the corporate website…
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to better assess the opportunity offered by twitter.
Webank’s approach is definitely one of the most innovative approaches I’ve noticed in the customer support space on twitter. I invite you to meetWebank’s 4-agent strong customer care team and their respective twitter accounts:
Welcome to Daniela, Valeria, Monica and Gianpaol!
Let me share two quick comments first.
First comment to the four agents: please fill in your profiles, add a link to the Webank website, follow @webank. Take a few minutes today to make your profiles more “legit”!
Second comment: the twitter handles are a bit too long. It will impact their customer’s ability to articulate their issue(s) and it will make it difficult to RT their official responses.
It seems like the bank created the accounts on 15 March 2011. The four agents started using their accounts at about 12pm GMT on 9 May 2011, close to two months later.
I’m curious to find out how it is going to work from an operational point of view, on daily basis: how will those four accounts interact with the main@webank account? Which agent is going to pick which tweet(s)? What will be their “call-to-action”? Will they all see what the others are doing on twitter?
As any tweeps would know, it is hard enough to grow your follower base for one account, so having several accounts always makes it more difficult (and you need to produce content on regular basis for every single accounts you own…).
Don’t Make it Too Personal
Obviously it is too early to tell, but I’ve already identified a few potentially blocking challenges: let’s assume one of the agents is “connected” to a tweep and involved in a conversation over the course of days, weeks or months. What happens when this agent is on vacation? Webank made those accounts very personal, which is usually a nice touch with social media. Here, I wonder how webank would deal today with the departure of one of those agents…
Using your company name in an individual account is a risky business. Let’s assume one of them becomes extremely popular, even more popular than @webank’s? Again, what would happen if the employee decides to leave the organization? Would he/she takes their account with them and rename it?
Webank’s Constant Innovation
Since 1999, Webank has constantly remained at the forefront of innovation in the Italian banking industry. They are active on social media channels such as twitter or facebook and they have their social media newsroom.
A few months ago, I reviewed their crowdsourcing experiment the Wepad Project which aimed to let the italian people design their iPad application. Last year, I flagged their “online dal 1999” initiative.
Other “Multi Personal Accounts” Initiatives
Please note that the concept of having employees (more or less) officially representing their financial institution on twitter is not new:
* USAA has a lot of spokespersons with @AskJune_USAA its most famous one (US),
* BNP Paribas’ “Mes Colocs” popular flatmates each have their own (inactive) twitter accounts…
* Giroflexx created some temporary twitter accounts for four employees as part of a marketing campaign (Germany).
We at Visible Banking would be delighted to help you and your team better understand and leverage social media in a pragmatic way.
So please don’t hesitate to call me (0044 7736 446 357), send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or DM me (@Visible_Banking) to book a meeting and talk about twitter, facebook,customer reviews, social media & social commerce in banking, financial services and insurance.