Monday, 30 March 2009

The Commonwealth Bank wins the Twitter PR game

It's funny that I keep posting about Twitter, as I actually think it's hopelessly over-hyped. But I couldn't resist this story about an unhappy customer's tweet and CBA's rapid response:

"A TWO-line Twitter post pushed my mortgage application from the Commonwealth Bank's "to do" list to an urgent priority.

The post said simply: "CBA f#$&ked up our loan approval so we're still waiting to exchange contracts". One hour and 17 minutes after it went live I was contacted by someone offering help to solve my problem. That person was the head of Commonwealth Bank's customer service team.

He told me the message made him "feel like crap" and the bank was only just beginning to understand how crucial social media sites were in maintaining the corporate giant's image. By 3pm the next day, my loan was formally approved."

One person who responded couldn't understand how complaints on social media carry more weight than a complaint by phone. The reason is simple. A phone complaint is witnessed only by the customer and the corporation - and perhaps a few friends of the customer. But a complaint on twitter, or a blog, or any form of social media might be read by hundreds of people, if not more. As will their favourable review if the corporation moves to fix the problem rapidly. And THAT (to be cynical) is why the CBA moved so quickly on this incident.

When corporations respond rapidly and sincerely to bad PR on social media the effect is incredible. Suddenly bad PR is converted to "wow, look how responsive and switched on this organisation is". Of course, this effect may only last as long as social media is "cool" and "new". It may not be such an unusual thing in a year or two.


Mark Parker said...

I think you're right. CBA has spun a near miss into a positive story when the real facts are less than stellar for CBA.I wrote about this yesterday -