Banks Suffer a Flurry of Protests Via Social Media

Mar 19 • Business, Front Page • 1243 Views

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Gone are the good old days when complaints were made on an individual basis, when they required patrons to call in or visit a business in-person. Now, all an angry customer must do is log into Twitter and type out a heated complaint for untold millions to see in nanoseconds.

 

 

In an effort to weed out money launderers and risky transactions, J.P. Morgan now requires would-be depositors to be listed on the account and show identification at time of deposit. The rule went into effect earlier this year, and since then, J.P. Morgan has fielded angry Tweets from customers who say the new policy treats them like terrorists and drug dealers.

 

 

 

 

What’s a bank’s customer-service team to do? According to Jennifer Openshaw, president of Finect Inc. – a platform that lets banks and other financial services use social media – the best thing they can do is “be proactive to manage complaints and their brand.” In specific terms, that means responding to any of the 26,000 followers that decide to complain in the timeliest manner possible.

 

 

One Twitter user learned she couldn’t deposit cash into her nephew’s account anymore. “I was like, ‘Am I a crook? Are we all crooks?’” she stated in an interview. Another incident involved a man who attempted to deposit rolled coins totaling just $5.50 and was asked for identification even for this inconsequential sum. When J.P. Morgan responded to his Twitter complaint, his sarcastic response was, “That’s great news! Especially since we all know that drug dealers’ and terrorists’ first choice for financing is rolled coins!”

 

J.P. Morgan has produced more than 90,000 tweets since the company opened its Twitter account. Undoubtedly, many of these tweets have been to settle the rage of irate customers. The thing with banks on social media, is that customer service teams are restricted by regulations and disclosure rules. Correspondents tend to take a cautious, robotic tone, but who can blame them? Every public social media interaction – every complaint that would be kept internal if not for social media – puts banks at risk for shattering their reputations.

 

 

Despite the potential risk for a damaged brand image, banks are embracing social media with accounts on several platforms. “Banks want to be on social media despite the fast-moving obstacles they face because that’s where their customers are having a conversation,” said Mark Schwanhausser, director at Greenwich Associates division Javelin Strategy & Research. “They want to be a part of that conversation.”

 

 

 

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