Author: Grace Durie
Banking on social media
What do you think of when you think of banking? Maybe a large, baroque building, full of clerks and cashiers, waiting to hand out your money in envelopes? Or perhaps a smart phone, prepped and ready to transfer and receive money with the swipe of a fingertip?
Either are plausible, but would you think of social media? More specifically a Twitter feed? I was considering this as I looked for my bank on Twitter, more as an experiment to see what kind of presence they had in the social media sphere and just what this new channel could offer me.
I wasn’t prepared for the array of services available on Twitter, from a helpdesk, to a press office, to information about retirement funds, run on three separate feeds. When I really got looking, I found that the Twitter presence amongst banks is high, with help desks being the most widely available function.
A tweet is a virtual butterfly, vibrant and relevant for only a fleeting moment in time. The majority of all Twitter users are looking for a response or a retweet within the first hour of their tweet entering the Twittersphere. With such a brief window of interest, surely my bank would flounder under the sheer volume of tweets received and the pressure to respond to their fast moving, more social media reliant customers? I was keen to find out.
I sent my tweet at 11.52am, a relatively simple request about current accounts, taking care to heed their instructions not to send any sensitive information over Twitter, set my phone’s timer and waited… I will admit to a pang of surprise when, at 12.01pm, I received a response, informing me to call their help centre for further advice. So, not a solution to my initial problem but a fast, useful response that put me well on my way.
So the service was quick, the reply helpful and as it was sent directly to both my email and Twitter accounts it meant I was notified twice.
Overall, I was impressed with the experience and who knows what these Twitter feeds could lead to. Today a help desk follow up, tomorrow a transaction! A prime example of how something as small as a tweet can flutter its wings and cause a hurricane in a large and powerful industry. Could this banking butterfly effect be paving the way for a future that combines traditional banking services and social media channels?