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Social media integration is a topic of growing interest in retail banking as banks look to promote customer satisfaction. However, how best to achieve this is less clear. Many banks use the channel to respond to unhappy customers’ messages, give advice, and further direct inquiries. In addition to providing customer data and functioning as a sort of contact center, social media can be used in other ways – for instance, to improve the customer experience during the account origination process. Optimal use of social media is challenging because it requires the solutions to excel in a world of numerous social media platforms and to be able to adapt to rapid changes.

Social media integration can enhance user-friendliness and personalization of customer experience

Social media integration is increasingly being talked about in retail banking. Social media itself is a vague concept that usually refers to websites and applications that allow users to share content, ranging from messaging services such as WhatsApp to networking platforms such as Facebook. However, although it is widely recognized among retail banks that they should have a social media presence, how to get the best out of social media is less clear. Many use social media to mitigate the brand damage caused by unhappy customers’ messages, to give advice, or to direct contact inquiries further. However, although there is pressure to provide information on public forums to avoid mis-selling, in most regions this is highly regulated. Banks’ opportunity to give advice on social media is constrained as they have to comply with requirements such as providing guidance clearly suitable for a customer’s needs.

In addition to providing customer data and functioning as a sort of contact center, social media can be used to enhance the customer experience, which has emerged as a top concern for retail banks. Deloitte’s account origination application, which uses Temenos’s edgeConnect, reduces the need for a new customer to type on their mobile by pulling data from social media. Some banks, including Polish bank mBank, have integrated Facebook with their mobile and online banking platforms to save customers from the tedious process of entering account details. Using messaging services such as Snapchat to update customers, for instance, on their balance is also something that is being explored in the banking industry. The integration of social media into channels allows banks to offer more user-friendly and tailored services and products to customers. Making customer experience more personalized is a key concern for many banks: personalization of customer experience was ranked among the top three front-office IT projects by 55% of bank IT decision makers in Ovum’s ICT Enterprise Insights survey for 2015.

Integrating social media into digital banking channels in a way t­hat adds value to the customer is challenging, especially given that the landscape of this industry is not the easiest. The solutions deployed need to be flexible, allow for innovation, and be able to deal with additional security issues. They also need to excel in a rapidly changing environment, where the popularity of different social media platforms changes fast – how many people regularly use MySpace anymore?There are many popular social media platforms in addition to Facebook and Twitter, and different customer segments may have differing preferences; younger generations, for instance, tend to like picture, voice, and video messaging and therefore favor applications such as Snapchat. There are also geographically specific applications to consider, such as China’s Sina Weibo.


Further reading

Retail Banking IT Priorities for 2015 and Spending Forecasts to 2019, IT0003-000649 (May 2015)

2015 Trends to Watch: Retail Banking – Transforming for the Digital Age, IT0003-000634 (December 2014)

Social Media Trends in Retail Banking,IT003-000544 (March 2013)


Noora Haapajarvi, Associate Analyst, Financial Services Technology

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