This post is part of a special series of contributed posts by Joel Windels, Lead Community Manager at Brandwatch—one of the world’s leading tools for monitoring and analyzing social media. Joel will be investigating and uncovering the various ways that social media meets business, and providing you with insight and advice on how to make social work for your industry.
3 Perks of Social CRM: For Financial Services Companies
Last month I wrote that financial service companies ought to embrace social media, despite the challenges they face in doing so. There are many opportunities that can arise from using social media strategy for business. One is harnessing the power of Social CRM, “the use of social media services, techniques and technology to enable organizations to engage with their customers.”
Here are three key ways Social CRM can be invaluable to the financial services industry:
1. It can help ramp up customer service.
A primary benefit of SCRM is the ability for both sides to engage in a new kind of dialogue: with social media, customers can take to online platforms to vent, query and converse with their financial service providers. Businesses can then use the same platforms to undertake reactive customer service. Approximately 44% of adults now use the web to share grievances about products. This shift is changing client expectations of how customer service should be conducted online.
Meeting their expectations is just the start; exceeding them can reap huge rewards for businesses. Above is a graph Brandwatch put together, to show the different topics of tweets that customers direct at banks in the UK. Seeking better customer service is clearly the dominant reason people direct tweets at banks.
Furthermore, moving customer support online and away from call centers and into cyberspace can save the companies money, time and resources. It costs around $3-4 to respond to a query through social media and ten times more to do the same by phone.
One company succeeding in this space is Bank of America, who have a Twitter account specifically dedicated to customer service. This account enables them to track their relationships with each customer and respond to every query and complaint in a manageable and timely manner. The account’s 136,000 tweets (and growing by the minute) is a testament to how well they perform that. They also score points for their personal touch, with individuals responding rather than a faceless company.
There is value in the ease and speed that comes with conducting customer support via a channel like Twitter, like Bank of America is doing. Consider that 61% of customer loss is due to long holds when contacting customer service, and that 32% of financial services customers switched providers in the past year.
2. For prevention: Reach clients…before they complain.
Reactive customer service may be the logical next step for call centers, but the possibilities available through Social CRM are even greater than that.
Financial service companies can use monitoring tools in order to find complaints and other mentions from all over the web, not just on owned accounts. Scouring the web with such refined systems means that businesses can find specific conversation about their services and products, whether a Facebook status, a forum post or even a comment on a news site or blog. Employees can then isolate these mentions and respond to them accordingly, currying favor with prospects, customers and influencers.
By making customer service a proactive activity, brands can boost their reputation and even their revenue, through less customer churn, good word-of-mouth for referrals and through acknowledging and addressing problems before they reach the complaint stage. This extends to treating third-party sites as owned platforms, such as the forward-thinking Eon, which uses the popular financial advice forum, Money Saving Expert, as a proactive channel for customer service in the same way as their Twitter account is used for reactive.
3. It can build communities around your brand.
Some financial service companies have pioneered the implementation of their own communities of customers. A great example of this is First Direct, a UK arm of global bank HSBC, who are notorious for excellent use of social media. They topped Brandwatch’s report into retail banking on Twitter, and after experimenting with their own platform, Talking Point, they now trust Facebook to provide a hub for their community. Customers exchange advice and feedback with First Direct and with each other, fostering a strong relationship between customers, peers and brand.
American Express take it a step further, using initiatives such as their Like, Link, Love and hashtag campaigns to reward customer loyalty and engagement with exclusive deals. Maintaining a healthy relationship with your existing customers is just as important as securing them in the first place, and Social CRM offers the best possible way to achieve this.
Legislation and other challenges may be an obstruction to financial service companies taking the social media plunge, but this excuse for avoiding social won’t last forever, especially when you consider the benefits it affords, like Social CRM.
Joel Windels (@LinkYeah)
Joel is the Lead Community Manager at Brandwatch and is responsible for a wide range of their content, strategy and social activity. His background is in the games industry, but he now spends his time pioneering the power of social media monitoring and digital in general.