There’s been a lot of buzz, or shall we say tweets, about Citibank’s innovative use of Twitter as a real and secure customer service tool. Citibank's SVP of Social Media Frank Eliason recently spoke to CIO Magazine and BAI Banking Strategies about how the bank is boldly engaging with customers in the Twittersphere, in an environment where 60% of companies don’t respond to customers via social media.
Eliason tells BAI, "In my view, the consumer controls your brand in these types of social spaces and they control your image. You have to be listening to them, whether it’s via social media or on the phones. You have to listen to what they’re telling you and find solutions to meet their needs. And by doing so, you can improve customer satisfaction, which is measurable."
Eliason explains that Twitter is about listening, and chiming in when the moment is right, versus unilaterally sending out messages on how great your company is. “It’s more about connecting to people,” he says. This is why Eliason believes that social media platforms present an excellent opportunity for customer service. You can visibly see the authentic conversations happening about your brand, so why not chime in?
The challenge for banks and other industries is the lack of privacy and security provided by the Twitter platform for account-related conversations. Not to mention the difficulty in determining if a customer that you are tweeting, is really the person they say they are.
He tells BAI, “In our partnership with LivePerson, we came up with solutions that enable a Twitter conversation to happen, but if it has to go to private conversation it can be shifted to a call. We also came up with technology that allows us to send the person a link. The end result is that a conversation that began on Twitter can continue behind a firewall, in a secured environment, authenticated to the customer’s account.”
Working with LivePerson's chat integration, Citi customer service agents can now initiate a secure dialogue with customers on Twitter using a dedicated LP Chat link to respond to their personal needs. "We're getting in touch with the customer the way they want. It's something that's easier and fits the customer's style," said Mr. Eliason to CIO.
You can also see Frank Eliason speak about this concept in more detail in this video from October 2011 at LivePerson's Mobile Innovation Day:
How is your company harnessing the power of social media to reach your customers and prospects? Do you feel you are doing enough to monitor, engage and support your customers in the social arena? We'd love to hear your stories.