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Wachovia's Initial Foray into Social Media is Impressive, Now Twitter That

By Jim Bruene on September 17, 2008 9:03 PM | Comments (8)

Link to Wachovia Twitter page Taking a page from Wells Fargo's playbook, Wachovia has ventured into social media, giving Twitter a try (see screenshot below and previous Twitter coverage here). The bank has sent 94 updates (aka Tweets) via its Twitter page since it began Aug. 18 and has amassed 340 followers.

But more importantly, they are leveraging the minimal customer-support expense to support Twitter (see note 1) with a nifty badge on its Contact Us page (see inset and screenshot below). That little bit of online marketing, demonstrating the Web-savviness of the banking colossus, is probably worth 1000x whatever goodwill they earn actually talking to customers via Twitter.

Wachovia Contact us page with Twitter badge 17 Sep 2008

I'll admit, I was expecting the usual corporate marketing-speak. But Wachovia is actually using the medium very well. So far, the bank has provided a realistic mix of low-key promotional items such as the following "Ike update" with real customer service response (see second example below).

Example 1 (earlier today): Promotional Tweet today mentioning the bank's Hurricane Ike response with link to more info, e.g., <tinyurl.com/4vbbyn>: 


Example 2 (this morning): Responding to a customer complaint: 


This last message is directed back to a customer who posted a complaint about Wachovia in his public Twitter stream. Wachovia could have sent it privately, but they elected to respond publicly.

This is surprisingly bold, considering that the bank risks elevating the issue. For example, anyone following Wachovia's updates can click on bastille71's username and see that she is upset about a $250 overdraft charge. It's unlikely anyone outside bastille71's friends would have known about that had Wachovia not responded publicly via Twitter.

Twitter user bastille71 But anyone who really believes in social media will argue that the bank has far more to gain by demonstrating real commitment to solving customer problems.

Looking further at the above example, bastille71 (inset) has 135 followers on Twitter, her own blog, and who knows how many friends on Facebook. What are the chances that if Wachovia ends up refunding her $250, bastille71 (aka Miss Rehobeth) will write it up in her blog, Twitter it, and even talk about it with her co-workers and friends? 

And if you need more ROI than that, Wachovia has already received a good payback on its Twitter investment (note 1) with a nearly full-page article in American Banker last week during an otherwise not-so-positive news cycle for banks. In addition, the customer service innovation made several blogs and of course the bank's been Twittered about in a positive way.

1. There's no real cost to using Twitter other than staffing it with a social-media-savvy customer-service rep and someone in marketing/PR to look over his or her shoulders. 

Comments (8)
Categories: Service , Social Media , Twitter , Wachovia

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First Federal has also began sending a few tweets: http://twitter.com/firstfederal

Funny enough... Twitter is blocked by the Corporate Network @ Wachovia. So employees cannot even use the Twitter service


Thanks for the link to First Federal's Twitter stream. Here's the stats: began Sept. 5, 7 updates and 13 followers. I like the mix of service and marketing Tweets. So far, First Federal hasn't engaged publicly with Twitter users as Wachovia has. ALthough, with a much smaller customer base, there may not be any First Federal customers Twittering problems with their bank at this point.

Read your excellent post and I am happy to say that Tech CU has also been "tweeting" at: http://www.twitter.com/TechCU. We just included a banner in our "Contact Us" page located here: http://www.techcu.com/resources/contactus.htm.

Great Stuff!

Great post, and interesting point raised re: protecting customers' privacy.

However, a minor technical point: Wachovia would not be able to privately contact bastille71 or any other Twitter user unless that user was first subscribed to the Wachovia Twitter stream.

All this means is that any initial customer service interaction on Twitter will be public. Best practices dictate that, as Wachovia has done, further discussion be taken offline to a more private mode of communication.


Sheesh, I really need to revisit sites to check the comments...
Another co-worker is actually tweeting for us. We're both kind of hesitant about what we want to put out there. There has been discussion of the direction we'll go in the future. For now, we're just trying to build a base of followers and point customers to helpful info on our website.

Twitter actually is a good place to start a real-time customer service support without spending millions of dollars.

Every other major and minor firm and bank in the investment industry has learned that clients want to occasionally or frequently download statements and confirms in PDF format while continuing to receive the paper documents themselves. In fact, for legal and audit reasons, many accounts, particularly trust accounts, require this.

So, what does the A.G. Edwards client find has happened as a result of the Wachovia tromping on client rights transition?

You get PDF only if you agree to abandon the right to paper statements. Some client service!

So far, this marvelous transition from a client-oriented firm, A G Edwards, to Wachovia to Wells has proven that for many investors, it may be time to look elsewhere. I only maintain some $3 million or so at Wachovia, so clearly they won't give a Tinker's Dam when I leave!


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