Unless you swim in a personal money vault like Scrooge McDuck, running to the bank might not be your favorite task. Whether it’s the endless lines, inconvenient hours, impatient staff or simply the stresses involved with finance alone, the bank is a necessary nuisance. However, thanks to social media, the traditional bank is revamping its image and accessibility through online bank accounts, online banking tools and a serious attitude adjustment.
Now, banks don’t do boring. They’re focusing on relating to their customers on a personal level, creating a friendly service industry and diminishing the “bad guy” reputation through building online banking relationships.
It’s working, too.
According to the king of social media education sites, Mashable, even the largest of banks are using everything from Facebook to Twitter to start taking interest in aspects of their customers’ lives that they never could have in the past.
Especially in today’s economic climate where they are perceived as greedy and untrustworthy, banks are stepping up their game to build communities, improve customer service and immediately stream the new best deals and rates.
Here’s four ways social media has changed banking:
1. Get Hands on Technical Support with Twitter
Bank of America offers their own group of personal Twitter reps, @BofA_Help, designed specifically to make banking easier for their customers.
Wells Fargo is also providing similar services @Ask_WellsFargo if customers have questions about checking, savings, or online banking accounts. Chase and a variety of local banks throughout the country are also tweeting. Perform a basic search and see if you can follow your specific branch for inside information or help.
2. The Instant Financial Lowdown
For financial news, follow the Wall Street Journal @WSJPersFinance, Yahoo! @YahooFinance and Associated Press’ @APPersonalFin Twitter accounts. Of course, there are plenty of independent personal finance bloggers, contributing their own content and retweeting other gems as well. A wealth of banking information can be streamed to your account on a regular basis.
3. Facebook: Face to Finance
Of course, you ultimately control your privacy settings, but imagine speaking with a customer service representative who has pulled up your Facebook profile as well as your financial information. Even with limited profile access, this could be your conversation with a customer service representative in the near future:
Rep: “Oh, I see you’re interested in both taking trips to Mexico and surfing. From your status reports, I also see that you plan on going for spring break later this year. If you haven’t already booked your flight, I’d take a look at this credit card, which can give you travel perks at your destination along with free airline miles with every purchase.”
You gave them access to your interests and pictures by being a fan of the bank on Facebook, you might have to pay the consequences.
4. Express Your Anger on Facebook
While searching for your bank’s official Facebook sites, you might come across unofficial groups and fan sites created by fellow customers. To put it in perspective, Bank of America’s official Facebook page has 3,708 approving fans on the social network site. However, an unofficial Facebook group entitled “Bank of America SUCKS!!!!” has 2,186 fans of their own.
Bank of America certainly does not stand alone, as thousands of other dissatisfied bank customers from assorted financial establishments have taken to the social media polls, fan pages, and groups to publicly express their feelings of mistreatment.
See why customer service has become the priority?
Social Media Adds Depth to Banking
Banking will always be banking. It’s always going to be a necessary financial service, and try as it might, it’s not going to be a thrilling source of entertainment for customers. No matter what, old fashioned banking methods will probably stick around.
Social media will be a battlefront of experimentation for financial services, who do seem to have a good intentioned goal of being easier, friendlier and more helpful. If you’re immersed in the world of online banking with a social media twist then you might be in store for a more enjoyable, personal experience.