A recent report on how banks use social media was published by the market research firm Javelin Strategy & Research. Focusing on Bank of America (BoA), Wells Fargo and Citigroup, Javelin analyzed more than 5000 tweets sent by Big Banks from Sept. 20 to Nov. 10 of last year when the social climate was tense between the 99% and the perceived 1%. A lot happened in those two months: Occupy Wall Street, BoA’s debit card fee announcement, and Bank Transfer Day.
Banks were measured on their ability to resolve the issue via Twitter or if the customer was instructed to contact the bank directly. BoA fared the worst with a 3% resolution of customer complaints. (Troubling since I’ve been a BoA customer for more than 10 years.) Citigroup ranked highest at 36% and Wells Fargo resolved 11% of all complaints. Now these are not great numbers across the board, but it’s obvious that the Big Banks are at least attempting to engage with their customers online.
Two problems were identified. Firstly Big Banks appeared to use scripted language when tweeting, which effectively puts the burden on the customer. Secondly customers were tweeting @ replies to the wrong handles, which meant that many misdirected messages were never answered.
All three organizations reached out to the NYT to comment.
Our Twitter team is dedicated to identifying and resolving customer’s individual issues,” Bank of America spokeswoman Tara Burke said in an e-mail. “After initial contact we take the issue off-line to protect the privacy of the customer. We never disclose or ask our customers to disclose any confidential information during our interactions using Twitter.
Javelin’s advice can be applied to any company looking to engage with their customers online. Answer initial questions directly and quickly; if need be take the conversation private on Twitter or provide an offline contact. Also, remember the customer is hoping to reach a real person, try to personalize your responses.
Have you used Twitter to contact a business? Was your issue resolved to your satisfaction?