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 Chuck Schaeffer Financial Services Social Strategies & Enabling Technologies

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How Financial Services Leaders Are Making Social Business Profitable Business

Financial Service Institutions (FSIs) recognize they need to meet their prospects and customers in their preferred online and social channels if they are to engage, acquire, grow and retain those customers. However, the majority of FSIs also struggle to do this with a clear and profitable social business strategy.

Most Financial Services firms have social media properties but have failed to make social business profitable business. More often than not the problem stems from a lack of a clear social strategy and a subsequent lack of financial performance measurement.

Making social business profitable starts with identifying the right use cases. Consider the following:

  • If you're a retail banker and your bank customer just watched 3 YouTube videos on the topic of setting up a 401K, or how to calculate the amount needed for retirement – do you want to know that?
  • If you are a financial advisor and your high net worth customer searched "90 day CDs" before coming to your website – do you want to know that?
  • If you sell mutual funds, and your customer just tweeted, "my Fidelity fund fell again, this is driving me crazy" – do you want to know that?
  • If you sell insurance, and your customer just tweeted, "just bought a new house" (or a vacation home, or new car) – do you want to know that?
  • If you're a private banker and your high net worth client just left your website page offering jumbo mortgage refinancing and went directly to a competitor banks website page describing their jumbo mortgage refinancing options – do you want to know that?

I can go on with near limitless examples and scenarios, but there's no need to answer, as these are rhetorical questions.

The second step in making social business profitable business is to align the use cases with business objectives and enabling technologies. In this article I'll discuss how financial services objectives can be enabled with social technologies, such as social listening, social selling, social marketing, social service, social products, crowdsourcing and reputation management.

Social Listening

Consumers and businesses are discussing their needs for financial solutions just like yours on social networks. But you probably don't know the discussions are taking place.

Here's the scenario. Prospects encounter a blog post or social conversation in which one of your current customers is complaining that your online banking application doesn't deliver current information, or your self-service application doesn't include important content, or your mobile app has a technical glitch, or one of your branches is pathetically slow, or one of countless other challenges. Worse, the customer reached out to your branch manager for support and was given the run around. Other participants react with disappointment and the discussion spreads. A few people post that they are using a rival bank that doesn't have these problems.

The fact is you were aware of the problem before this discussion began. You know the problem can be addressed but it's not been made a priority and since the complaints were not elevated by your branch, you're not aware of the customer frustration, and don't know the discussion that is taking place online so therefore you can't respond. The result is you have lost potential customers you didn't know existed due to an online discussion you didn't know was taking place. Unfortunately, your main competitor has been monitoring social networks, has gained important insight from this discussion, has acquired several sales leads and will use this information in a new marketing campaign.

Customer sentiment is being expressed for every financial services company, product and service in existence over multiple social channels at an increasing rate. Using social monitoring and text mining tools, there's a compelling opportunity to analyze what prospects and customers think about each of your products and services, as well as what they think about each of your competitors' products and services, and correlate this sentiment analysis to sales efforts, product mix, marketing spend, advertising expense, loyalty programs, competitor programs and specific cost and profit measures.

This type of social data and correlation is powerful in creating business processes which influence customer behaviors with predictive responses. Taking this a step further, there's also an opportunity to correlate customer sentiment with broad economic factors, specific market indicators, competitor moves or other factors that may uncover patterns that permit FSIs to model changes for improved customer engagement and business performance. For example, offering low risk financial services products during bleak times or to pessimistic customers will result in much higher sales conversions than less focused offerings.

It's become abundantly clear that FSIs which do not track customer sentiment are losing customers to competitors that do, and who are adjusting their business models or product offerings to capitalize on that customer sentiment.

Next: Social Selling for Financial Services Institutions >>

Financial Services Social StrategyFinancial Services Social SellingFinancial Services Social MarketingFinancial Services Social SellingFinancial Services Social ProductsFinancial Services Reputation Management



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