Consider any business with a widespread footprint – a retail chain, a national bank or a chain of spa parlors. A common issue which each of these brands face relates to the effectiveness of their brand reputation management program. While such programs are run centrally, the widespread footprint makes it difficult to monitor and address issues and crises as they emerge. We take banks as an example to illustrate the challenges a banking brand may face and suggest ways to manage reputational risks.
The challenge: Multiple branch locations, multiple products and multiple customer care teams
The online reputation management (ORM) challenge which any multi-branch bank faces, boils down to the following characteristics of its operations: a) distributed brand assets, b) wide variety of products & services related issues and c) a distributed customer care team. More on each of these points below:
- Multiple, distributed brand assets: Each branch location of a bank typically has some presence of its own on social/digital. Especially with the popularity of Google My Business pages gaining ground, every branch has a google places listing. This makes monitoring of customer conversations around banking services difficult.
- A wide-range of possible customer issues: Banking is a complex business with a wide variety of products and services. The services range from a simple service such as providing a bank account to a consumer and all the way to providing personalized wealth management services to the top tier of customers. The variety of customer issues are proportionate to the variety of products and services. This makes evaluation of issues and the corresponding response, especially those on public review forums and social media difficult.
- Multiple, widespread teams responsible for resolving consumer issues: Customer issues in the banking domain are dealt by multiple teams. Some issues are best addressed at the branch level, while others require the head office to be involved. There could be a variety of rather peculiar issues, for instance, issues related to foreign exchange, international wire transfers, investment return issues and the like.
The above-mentioned reasons make online reputation management for banks a challenging proposition.
Must have features of a reputation management system for banks.
How should banks with multiple branches and a wide variety of product offerings manage their online reputation? A good system can play a pivotal role. The ideal system is one which gets all the data at one place, gets that across to the right people within and tracks resolution end to end. In addition, a good system alerts the right teams at the right time about impending crises. What are some of these features of a good online brand reputation management system for banks? Here are five points for your consideration.
- The online reputation system should source all the disparate data at one place
Data from the multitude of social pages, Google My Business pages, news, review boards local and national should flow into a central repository. Ideally, proprietary data such as the bank’s contact center recordings as well as inbound email complaints should be brought in as well. Any ORM system should be able to integrate multiple data sources. Enterprise social listening and customer insight platforms have this functionality.
- Must use AI/NLP methods to be able to enrich this data meaningfully, if possible in a manner which is relevant to banking.
The users of the system should be able to identify issues by location, related product or service (for ex: is the issue related to loans or investments?) and the root cause of issues (for ex: customer service at the branch or refunds?). This data enrichment is possible using nuanced NLP techniques. With the progress being made on such numerical methods and the availability of enabling computing infrastructure, a good system should be deploying algorithms to enrich banking data.
- Should be capable of automated/programmed routing of issues to the right people.
You need a system which can route the issue to the right people at the right time within the organization. The data enrichment helps decide whether the issue should go to the local branch’s manager or to the headquarters based on how the consumer conversations have been characterized by the system’s analytics engine (refer to #2).
- The ORM system should be able to track the response metrics or provide integrations with support desks or popular CRM systems.
The reputation monitoring system should be able to track responses all the way to issue resolution and provide data on turnaround time (TAT) by location, function, issue type. This data and analysis is a valuable input when the brand thinks through future customer experience initiatives. Alternatively, the system should be able to push data into popular support software, Zendesk for example. Integrations are therefore important when considering deploying ORM systems for banking brands.
- System which averts crises through early alerts
A bank’s reputation is paramount because customers trust a bank with their life savings. Banks can ill afford an iota of doubt in the customer’s mind, let alone deal with a full-blown crisis. To effectively manage reputation of a bank, one needs to be able to set up alert. A simplistic example: When the volume of conversations carrying a negative sentiment spike beyond a set threshold the brand team should get automated, ‘as-it-happen’ alerts. This is important to nip brand crises situations in the bud.
A very few enterprise online reputation management systems pack these features. Auris’ banking solution addresses each of these points, making it a very robust solution for the industry.
Caution is paramount.
A popular saying goes as follows: “Adventure is the life of commerce, but caution is the life of banking.” Deployment of online reputation management systems for banks is therefore no luxury, it is a must. Systems with the characteristics listed above can provide a good shield for your brand’s safety.