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Corporate & Reputation

Citibank’s Social Media Effort – Succeeding Where Many Banks Still Fear to Tread

When it comes to social media’s impact on America’s largest financial institutions, one can’t help but think of the ways that the Occupy movement and other consumer activists have used platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to grow their ranks, organize their efforts, and disseminate scathing critiques of the industry. But as reported last week in the Wall Street Journal, at least one major financial services provider is embracing social media to get closer to its customers.
When Citibank customer Stacy Small tweeted about being left on hold for 40 minutes during a routine call to the bank’s customer service department, a Citibank agent responded within minutes with a message that read “Send us your phone number and we’ll call you right now.”
Not moments later, Ms. Small was speaking to one of approximately 30 Citibank customer service representatives who have received special training in social media monitoring and response. The experience was so overwhelmingly positive that Ms. Small doesn’t even call Citibank customer service anymore. Instead, she simply tweets the address @askCiti whenever a question or problem arises.
While such interactions may be nothing new to the social media mavens who protect online brands at hotels, airlines, and major consumer product companies, Citibank is something of a pioneer for the simple reason that it is actively gaining ground in an industry with a spotty history of customer service through traditional channels.
Key to Citibank’s success (as evidenced by the anecdote above) is an understanding that even the most critical commentary posted to a Facebook page or Twitter account is only the beginning of a conversation that could potentially transform a negative customer experience into a positive one.
Even better, Citibank’s social media efforts provide potential customers with a look at the lengths it will traverse to ensure an optimal banking experience for all.
Michael W. Robinson is an Executive Vice President at LEVICK and a contributing author to LEVICK Daily.

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