Financial Businesses’ Guide to Responding to Customers on Social Media

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Financial Businesses' Guide to Responding to Customers on Social MediaLet’s be clear up front. When it comes to responding to customers or members on social media, especially difficult ones, you should reply if at all possible.

Right now, too many financial businesses are not responding at all. Or are answering too late, missing the window of opportunity to engage with their customers.

Leading retail brands reply on social media within an average of 157 minutes. But for those in the banking and finance industry, the average time to reply is 552 minutes.

Just as dismal, according to Sprout Social, the banking and finance industry sends an average of 31 promotional messages for every 1 comment. The discrepancy in this industry is 35% higher than the average across all others.

The reality is that consumers are using social media more and more for customer service issues and expect engagement and resolution with little to no delay.

Financial Businesses’ Guide to Responding to Customers on Social Media

Create a Response Strategy

If your financial business is considering responding to customer service questions on social media, the first step is to create a detailed strategy. Even if you are currently engaging with your customers or members online, a refreshed approach can help you better manage stressful situations.

In crafting this strategy, consider that people will judge you based on several criteria: 

  • how quickly you respond
  • what your reaction was
  • how was the issue resolved

An excellent response can convert angry and upset customers into loyal, raving fans. The rule of thumb is that while unhappy customers talk to 5 people, formerly unhappy customers you win back will talk to 10! 

IMPORTANT: What if the post includes account information?

Sometimes a customer will post a customer service issue on social media and include account details. Here are a few ways to address that in your response strategy. 

  • In your Facebook Terms of Service (we use clients “Impressum” for their TOS) include a line asking customers not to share account details.
    • Example: “Please DO NOT provide account details or other personal information on our Facebook page or in a private Facebook message. If you need help with your account or have a complaint or concern, we want to help. Please contact us at 800-234-1234 or info@example.com for personalized service.”
  • Ask the customer to delete their personal information.
  • Ask the customer to call your customer/member care line.
  • For direct messaging, include an auto-response that includes a line asking that customers not share their account information.

It is critical to have your compliance team review the response strategy before implementation. Any red flag items can be added to the list above and sensitive issues dealt can be handled in regulatory compliance.

Should Your Financial Business Comment, Hide, Delete or Ignore Customer Complaints?

Knowing when to comment, hide, or delete a complaint is the key to good social media customer service. Incorporating these guidelines into how you connect with consumers will give you the confidence you need to handle any situation.

COMMENT

When a customer asks a question or poses a complaint that can be addressed quickly, do so as soon as possible by replying to their original post.

If a quick answer is not available, acknowledge the issue and let the person know that someone is working on a reply and will get back to them. Or ask them to send you a private message or email (called “taking it offline”). 

Example:

“Hi, my name is ____. We’re looking into it now, and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. If you have any questions, contact me directly at _____.”

Note that not all negative comments are worth a response and not all critics are worth trying to win over. Sometimes, as hard as it can be, it’s best just to move on.

READ: 25 Customer Service Scenarios (And How to Handle Them)

HIDE OR DELETE

Hiding a comment (a Facebook feature that allows the user’s comment to be visible to their friends, but no one else) or deleting a comment is the right course of action in some scenarios.

Appropriate times to hide or delete comments include:

  • Customer is taunting you to get a reaction (also called trolling)
  • Hate speech
  • Profanity, obscenity, or vulgarity
  • Visible nudity in their profile picture
  • Defamation of a person or people
  • Name-calling
  • Solicitations
  • Copyright infringement
  • Posting the same comment repeatedly (this is called spam)
  • Posting personal account information

IGNORE

Never ignore the original customer service issue, but if you really can’t make a customer happy, and you know you’ve done everything possible, you just have to move on. Thank them for their business and ignore further responses. 

Record Feedback

One final piece of the customer response strategy is the need to capture, archive, and later retrieve all social media customer interactions. This sounds hard, but it’s not with the right tools. Find a trusted resource that can do this for you. 

  • Gremlin Social (dedicated to the financial industry and built for social media compliance)
  • Sprout Social (great business management system, and the one that we use)
  • HootSuite (management system with compliance toolset)

Facebook even makes it easy to export data for your records.

 

At the end of the day, your customers and members want a response. They want to know you are listening to what they have to say. Having a solid response strategy for your financial business is the best way to be prepared to engage with confidence. And since the finance and banking industry has a lot of room to grow when it comes to customer service via social media, you’ll be delighting customers PLUS staying ahead of your competition.

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About Author

Larkin Grant

Larkin is the Chief Strategist and co-owner of Move Digital & Our Valley Events. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Georgia State University and has worked in social media for the past 6 years. She was recently named Best Social Media Specialist by the American Advertising Federation/North Alabama. At Move Digital, Larkin consults with local businesses about how to maximize their social media efforts. When not eating cupcakes or getting her sparkles on, Larkin enjoys working with local nonprofits like Leadership Huntsville/ Madison County, Huntsville Young Professionals.