Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Age of the Thick Skinned Banker

Amplicate, a social media analytics company, released a report that suggests that banks need to develop thick skin, really thick skin, in the new world dominated by social media.

The Amplicate study revealed that 83% of opinions about major banks in the US and Europe were negative over the past 12 months.  The study focused on large money center banks and not on the smaller community banks.  While community banks would have likely performed better due to their reputation as being more consumer-friendly, the lesson is the same: bankers need to learn to deal with and manage criticism like never before.

Social media makes it easier than ever for consumers to make their complaints public.  Look at Bank of America's recent social media troubles related to its $5 debit card fee.  The public outcry resulted in a complete about face by Bank of America and created significant damage to the Bank of America brand that will take some time to repair.

Banks' knee jerk reaction may be to avoid social media altogether in an effort to avoid the criticism.  However, as has been repeated many times on this blog, the criticism will occur regardless of a bank's stance on social media.  A better approach is to play offense and implement a social media monitoring system that tracks what is being said about the bank and responds in a transparent and honest manner in a effort to prevent the criticism from snowballing in a manner similar to that experienced by Bank of America.

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