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Bank of Montreal repositions social media as customer service platform

The Bank of Montreal recently deposited a new strategy into its mobile vault that enables customers to communicate with bank representatives via social media, resulting in an 83 percent drop in first response time for United States operations.

The financial institution implemented a social-first initiative by teaming up with Conversocial to power a social media-based customer service solution, which gives on-the-go consumers immediate access to the bank?s customer service employees. As social media increasingly becomes the primary channel of communication between marketers and their audiences, it is safe to say that more banks will begin rolling out these types of strategies as the year progresses.

?Given the percentage of users on mobile and the heavy use of social media, it is extremely important for banks to have a mobile/social strategy component with their customer service,? said Marci Troutman, CEO of Siteminis. ?The important thing to note here is that once this component is added to their strategy, it can't just sit in a vacuum; there needs to be a proper plan and mechanism in place to ensure consumers are attended to through this outlet.

?Having a customer service email/link/phone attached simply won't be sufficient; there needs to be the ability for data to be captured and a mobile-friendly page(s) for consumers to address their concerns with a responsive backend to engage these concerns swiftly and in the right timing, based on the critical level of the issue,? she said. 

Digital support strategies
The Bank of Montreal sought to complement its service motto, ?We are here to help,? with a mobile-first twist. The accessibility and convenience associated with social media prompted the financial brand to include channels such as Facebook and Instagram as part of its customer service offerings.

Additionally, the company wanted to provide more support options for consumers needing to converse in Spanish or French.

The Bank of Montreal joined forces with Conversocial to roll out a series of new solutions, such as Twitter and Facebook support, YouTube moderation and Instagram exploration. Each social channel is manned by a U.S. English, Canadian French and Canadian English team.

Conversocial was able to help the Bank of Montreal define its brand voice and extend its audience outreach on mobile. Agents were also able to leverage insights from call center training to humanize their customer service interactions on social media.

The Conversocial collaboration resulted in an 83 percent decrease in first response time for U.S. operations in 2015. United States branches also saw a 167 percent uptick in positive sentiment, alongside a 234 percent increase in responses submitted in less than one business hour.

Meanwhile, Canadian operations experienced a 78 percent decrease in first response time from 2014 to 2015. The average handling time of customer requests decreased by 54 percent, while positive sentiment skyrocketed by 315 percent.

Social?s new role
Although social media has long been considered a marketing and communication vehicle for brands, it has proven that it does have the necessary reach and constant connectivity needed to make it a customer service behemoth.

A growing number of brands are teaming up with Facebook Messenger after realizing its potential as a communication channel for offering customer service and building personal relationships with mobile users (see story).

Last December, Sprint was the premier telecommunications brand leveraging Facebook Messenger as a new social care channel with which it responds to inquiries and provides real-time chat solutions to customers (see story).

Other financial institutions could be quick to follow in the Bank of Montreal?s footsteps upon realizing the massive opportunity to propel customers? positive sentiments ? as well as overall loyalty ? even higher.

?Implementing a solid mobile/social component to the banking business would definitely bolster customer loyalty, as long as this component is properly planned out and implemented with the consumers in mind,? Ms. Troutman said.