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Social media and your bank – what your customers are saying about you and what you can do about it.

Several years ago, a friend of mine had her satellite radio stolen from her car as it sat in her driveway. She promptly called and reported it stolen, requesting that service to the radio be cancelled immediately.

Instead – despite multiple calls, complaints and tears – the company charged her monthly for a radio that she no longer even owned for the next three years.

With nowhere left to turn, she posted a complaint about them on Facebook. Within minutes, a customer care manager messaged her back, asking how he could fix the situation. A week later, she had a reimbursement check for the past three years of radio service.

That’s the power of social media.

When customers hit the web and provide feedback about your bank in social forums like Twitter and Facebook, they can serve as either enthusiastic promoters of your bank who recommend your products and services to their peers, or they can cause significant damage to your reputation.

Today’s social outlets and the Internet provide a powerful forum for disgruntled customers to share their bad experiences (just ask Bank of America about www.bankofamericasucks.com or Wells Fargo about www.wellsfargobanksucks.com).

The best defense is a good offense and the more you know the better.

If you don’t know what your customers are saying about you online, find out! Create a Facebook page for your bank or credit union and monitor it daily. Encourage the compliments and when a negative comment is made, address it quickly.

Though others will see the negative feedback, they will also see that your bank was quick to remedy the situation, which is a powerful testimonial to your commitment to customer service.

Search your bank’s name in popular web engines on a daily basis to monitor what is being said about you in the media and on other social networking sites. You’ll also need to make sure payday loan scammers aren’t using your bank’s name and logo.

If you don’t have the time, talent or resources to monitor all of the different social media sites, there are companies such as www.radian6.com and www.reputation.com that can do it for you.

The public nature of social media works both ways. It serves as a place for customers to vent their frustrations, but also as a way for you to showcase your commitment to making things right.

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Neal Reynolds has worked with hundreds of banks and credit unions around the country helping them to grow core deposits and market share without growing their marketing budgets. Contact him at nreynolds@eadshop.com.

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