Since the launch of Facebook in 2004, banks have increasingly adopted social media technologies. In addition to launching Facebook profiles, most major banks have also adopted Twitter as a new marketing and customer service avenue.
Africa is emerging as a hothouse of innovation for social media in the banking sector. I happened to read Bisi Lamikanra, Partner and Head Management Consulting, KPMG in Nigeria, paper on “Social media lessons from the developing world” and found that Banks in the developing markets are using Facebook applications to improve access to services.
She says, in a country where communicating important messages to a wide audience is often difficult, social media has also helped the bank identify and communicate enhancements and problems with its products and services.
She further elucidates how even today, banks see social media as an opportunity to ask itself a simple question: what do customers – and prospective customers – really want from their bank? The results have helped them to define strategies and make decisions such as where to place new ATMs, the roll-out of e-branches and even the placement of a full-service branch.
While these steps are necessary, banks are beginning to understand that those services are simply the tip of the iceberg. “Social” in fact, has a lot more to offer. The social media revolution has already happened, transforming not only your customers’ daily behavior but their expectations of you as their financial partner. In today’s social world, customers demand to be heard, understood and valued.
Social media is dramatically impacting the banking industry, as most banks have established a presence on various social sites. But, simply establishing a presence on social media is not enough — consumers now expect banks to use social channels to deliver faster and more effective customer service and customized financial advice; share financial offers and upcoming events; offer knowledge about regulations; and provide a feedback mechanism about banking products and services.
If your bank wants to drive stronger, sustainable, profitable and mutually beneficial relationships in this new social reality, you must learn more about your customers – and listen when they speak. Banks must listen, learn and respond, as well as incorporate their social activities into their overall corporate strategies. In most cases, this requires banks to rethink their core business strategies to make them more customer-centric.
Leading banks around the world are already responding to this trend by evolving into social banks, ones that embrace transparency and two-way interaction through social media to meet and exceed customer expectations.
Recent report from Deloitte says Of the 50 largest banks in the world, over 90% are on Facebook and 88% are on Twitter. I believe more than just using social media to monitor consumer sentiments, there is the potential to improve customer acquisition, enhance engagement, increase share of wallet and reduce attrition, while also delivering operational efficiency and reducing risk.
The Internet has turned ordinary entrepreneurs and salespeople into overnight success stories as a result of social media’s ability to easily and quickly share information. The ability to share information on social networks means it has the ability to inform and influence prospective customers.
Diamond Bank tries to use various forms of social media for customer engagement.
Clearly, to unleash the full potential of using social media channels, we need to look beyond mere e-reputation and branding, to customer engagement and the ability to predict customer behavior from insights gained from social data.