A recent survey of American banking executives revealed that 74% of them expect social media to be a significant factor in the future of their company’s customer service strategy.
The survey, carried out in April at the Card Forum & Expo trade event, revealed several current online trends in the credit card industry.
- Almost two thirds of those surveyed said their credit card companies already made use of social media to improve customer experiences.
- One third of respondents said they used Twitter both for communication and as a way of seeing what people are saying about them.
- Thirty percent of the respondents use Facebook for similar reasons as Twitter.
- Twenty percent of the executives said they ran a blog
- Eighteen percent of those surveyed have used other types of social media including video sharing
One financial institution who has made use of social media is American Express. At present the official American Express Facebook page has almost 800,000 “likes.” The page is used to communicate with customers on an informal level. For example, on May 21 the company posted a status update which read “Happy weekend! Go ahead… put the tab on us!”
Following the post, 1328 people clicked their Like buttons and 338 left a comment. The comments were for the most part lighthearted with many asking if that meant American Express was going to pay for their purchases. Amex employees stopped by the thread from time to time to remind people they meant to use the card and not that Amex would foot the bill!
The seemingly innocuous comment had its desired effect. Over 1,000 cardholders went out that weekend with American Express on their mind, prompting them to spend! Other recent posts have promoted cardholder benefits, asked members to vote for discounts they would like to see and publicized credit card offers.
It seems as though credit card companies are all investing in social media marketing. This will most likely be the result of careful research which no doubt convinced them that there would be significant benefits. However, social media is still fairly new, and is largely untried as a mass marketing tool.
Only time will tell if social media marketing is here to stay. What is certain is that credit card companies must not make assumptions about how credit card users feel about social media in order to avoid misunderstanding such as with the now defunct “Blippy” service.