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STUDY: Banks Don’t Find Much Value in Social Media

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Two questions: do you follow your bank on social? More importantly, why?

A Carlisle & Gallagher survey published in The Guardian this week found that, while some Americans do pay attention to their banks on social, they don’t much care for what they see. 87% of those questioned described the social accounts of said financial institutions to be “annoying, boring and unhelpful.”

One BIG qualifier: only 7% of those surveyed actually follow their financial institutions, yet many mention them by name in public complaints. The issue, then, comes down to customer service on social—or a lack thereof.

While most customers aren’t terribly interested in reading about their banks’ CSR efforts or career advice from those with a better handle on relevant content (Citi seems to be the winner here), they do like airing their grievances. In fact, while the vast majority of participants would prefer to solve service issues in person at a bank branch, they don’t hesitate to broadcast their discontent to their followers.

Unfortunately, banks aren’t like fast food brands—they’re highly regulated and averse to risk, which means no quippy remarks unless they happen to be joking about literary threats to their reputations. So there’s no back-and-forth with followers and no real personalized connections to speak of.

Another interesting fact: while more than a third of survey participants say the complaints they aired on social were not resolved, the banks themselves beg to differ. No wonder customers aren’t satisfied; in the social media age we want instant gratification and surprisingly good service, which may be the two things banks are least equipped to provide.

Maybe banks just need to accept that social media accounts will never be their greatest spaces for innovation.

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