Thursday, October 13, 2011

SAP Has Something to Say About Banking and Social

According to SAP blogger Michael Mischker, "strengthening customer loyalty and overall customer experience has become increasingly critical for banks because of the problems they’ve faced in recent years. A positive experience with branch offices and call centers is still essential. But social media gives banks and other financial service firms another arrow in their marketing quivers. Used strategically, it provides a powerful two-way dialogue with customers that can significantly enhance brand and revenue."

Here are some of Michael's tips:

1) Start a Dialogue:  There are many obstacles to integrating social media into a bank’s distribution channels — not the least of which is a change in financial institutions’ corporate culture which has historically emphasized monologue over dialogue. Many banks are also concerned about opening the door to negative commentary.  Standard marketing strategies will no longer win customer interest and trust. Increasingly, consumers will look to their social groups for banking recommendations and use social media to share their thoughts on particular institutions.

2) Competitive Advantage: An active social media presence can create a “sticky,” real-time relationship with potential and existing customers. Using today’s technology, the best-run banks can monitor the sentiment of and actively engage with customers, prospects, and key opinion leaders. At a time when the amount of data and information created by social networks is expanding exponentially, it’s more important than ever for banks to have robust support for listening and responding to social network commentary.

3) The Right Tools for the Job: Banks can easily leverage current technology to imbue the customer experience with a social touch. Banks can create the consistent experience across traditional and social media channels needed to strengthen their customer relationships.

Successful customer relationship strategies driven by social media rely on:

1) Responsiveness (listening carefully and replying quickly)
2) Relevance (keeping responses personal and meaningful)
3) Convenience (interacting with customers at their preferred time and channel)

Technology can put this all in place. But banks must, first, be willing to embrace the new opportunities for collaborative, two-way interactions with customers that social media outlets provide.

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