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How social intelligence can help banks enhance customer engagement during the coronavirus pandemic

By Michalis Michael, CEO of DigitalMR 

For a long time, social listening has played a key role in helping brands measure the social media voice of consumers and enhancing online engagement. However, the banking sector, despite having undergone a huge digital transformation over the years, is still behind the curve when it comes to monitoring online conversation.

Now, with the coronavirus pandemic causing branch closures nationwide, having a strong online presence is more crucial than ever. Here are some of the main ways banks can leverage the tool to drive intangible value for customers amid these uncertain times.

Understand the principle

Michalis Michael
Michalis Michael

Before attempting to use social intelligence it’s important for banks to fully get to grips with the principle and what it means in practice.

Also known as ‘social listening’, social intelligence is when you track your social media platforms for mentions and conversations related to your brand. It helps you understand what’s going right, what’s going wrong and where you need to improve, so you can take this insight and find ways to put it into action. This could mean anything from crafting a tailored response to a customer, to redesigning your entire strategy.

Social intelligence/listening is about more than social media monitoring and it’s crucial to understand this. Most banks will already be using simple social media monitoring tools primarily designed for PR or customer care, but they need to take this further and pay close attention to the sentiment of posts and how much accuracy is used to determine it.

With the addition of social listening, you can access accurate annotation of the sentiment a conversation drives and use this to inform vital decision making. For example, social listening can allow you to look in fine detail at how your digital brand equity is impacted by online conversation and how it compares to other banks, as well as help you identify certain triggers and barriers.

Open a personalised dialogue

By keeping track of what customers are saying about your brand during the pandemic, you can spot a negative post and identify what a customer is unhappy about before directly engaging with them in a dialogue. This will show that you are always ready to respond to customer queries and complaints despite having less of an on-the-ground presence. If you’re able to find a solution, they may go on to tell others how quick you were to assist with their issue. This is an example of how banks can use social listening to turn a bad situation into a winning customer experience.

Fix product performance issues

With entry to local banks now limited for customers, many who have previously relied on visiting their branch for in-person support will now need to turn to online products and services they may not have used before. Social listening can provide you with near real-time online discussions around any issues customers are having with your online banking platforms. Monitoring your social media mentions and addressing these problems openly on your platforms will not only demonstrate that you still operate a first-class approach to customer service even in times of crisis, it will allow you the opportunity to resolve issues quickly before they escalate and spiral out of control, turning a potentially embarrassing incident into a positive experience.

Monitor your competition

Not only can social listening provide you with insight into customers’ perception of your own brand and services throughout the pandemic, you can use it for competitive analysis. By understanding what customers are saying about competing banks, their services and any associated issues, you can leverage this knowledge to adjust and improve your own services and approach, allowing you to gain a more competitive edge over others operating in the same market.

Unfortunately, many banks will be even more hesitant to develop a strong social media presence during the coronavirus pandemic, on account of the heavy industry regulations in place. However, with the right knowledge and social listening platform, and by following the steps above, they can compliantly tap into all the benefits and rewards social media has to offer and clearly demonstrate they are there to support their customers throughout these uncertain times.