French bank uses TV ads to promote Twitter-based customer service

Increasingly customers and brands are using Twitter as a way to ask, and respond to, some customer queries. For certain types of customers, and for certain types of queries, this can be an effective channel for customer service. But how many brands would lead on this in a TV advertising campaign? And how many would commit to response times in the ad? In July French bank Société Générale have done just that.

The bank has been using the @SG_etvous Twitter account to respond to customer queries for two years but this is the first time they have used TV advertising to promote the service to their customers. As well as raising awareness of the customer services channel, they are also committing to a 30 minute maximum response time for Twitter queries.

This is not the first time that we have seen large brands advertise their social media customer care channels, KLM in particular have put considerable focus on promoting this route for customers. However it will still be seen by a brave move by many brands.

Customer care in social media needs careful planning and resourcing (both in terms of people, processes and technologies) to get right, and will often lead to more fundamental changes in the way parts of a business work. What works when complaints and queries are being submitted privately by letter or phone will not necessarily work when these are being submitted publicly via social media channels.

Considerations for social media customer care

For brands thinking about the challenges of social media customer care, there are three broad areas of consideration that we would usually expect to see:

  1. Are our queries suitable for this channel: If the kind of queries you get most often are about individual, personal, account details then it might be that customers will want to continue to do this in private, or it might be that you will have to ask for personal information to be able to help people. If you use social media for these types of queries you will need to consider the processes you need to put in place to handle personal details and how your customer care processes connect with your CRM and account management tools.
  2. Will your customers adopt this channel: The way in which consumers use social media to interact with brands continues to change. For different customer types, picking up the phone may still be the natural way to interact with a brand. Good research into your own customer base will help you to understand the relationship they want with you and how they want this to conduct this.
  3. Do you want to drive the query to social: When introducing any social media customer care it is important to analyse which queries should be best resolved by which channel – some will be more suitable for social media, whereas other will be key to keep in a more private two-way environment. A matrix of query type and channel will help you to better understand the role of social media in the customer care mix.