How ICICI Bank is redefining the future of banking with its social strategy

by Srikanth RP, InformationWeek, December 17, 2012

India’s largest private sector bank is leading the way in showing how banks can use social media to their advantage by using the social medium to promote financial literacy, smart banking tips and safe-banking practices in addition to product information

Always the first to explore new technology mediums, ICICI Bank has been in the forefront of using technology to maintain its competitive edge. So, when the Bank announced this year, that it has created a Facebook application that allows customers to see their bank statements while being on the social media platform, it was another feather in the business technology cap for India’s largest private sector lender.

Like other technology savvy organizations, ICICI Bank realizes the immense potential of the platform. Facebook already has more than 65 million active users in India, and what better way to engage with end customers than be at a place where customers are already present. Facebook gives ICICI Bank one more channel to engage in real conversations with fans and prospective customers. The Bank realizes the importance of social media to interact with customers and manage reputation by understanding or influencing an individual. The end objective is to build affinity towards the brand especially among customers in the younger age group.

“We believe it is imperative to be present on social media platforms and also offer banking services that no other banking institution does. Our objective is to provide various touchpoints to customers to engage with the brand at their convenience,” says NS Kannan, Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer, ICICI Bank.

Using the social platform, the Bank provides its customers with a rich offering of apps, product information, and utilizes this platform to increase financial literacy. The Bank also utilizes this space to manage its online reputation. This involves monitoring and generating online feedback and reviews, responding to customer complaints, resolving queries, taking corrective action on incorrect information and using online feedback to guide improvements in product development for enhancing customer experience.

Presence on social media

ICICI Bank’s social media strategy is based on a simple principle to engage and interact; and its presence is spread over various platforms. The Bank has established its presence on Twitter by creating a robust infrastructure to “listen” to its customers. This has helped it to effectively and efficiently address queries/concerns of its end customers. ICICI Bank launched its Facebook page early this year. The Bank wanted the launch to be not just another medium to connect with the audience but also provide value-added services on the platform.

“We launched the one-of-its-kind application that allows a registered user to check his account details while on the social media platform and also avail a host of services. We have always encouraged users to follow safe banking practices. Indeed, we have received a good response on our safe banking tips. We have built a 9.5 lakh strong community on Facebook within a span of 10 months,” states Kannan.

On Facebook, ICICI Bank engages with its fans not only by providing them information on convenience of banking but also by educating and increasing financial literacy among its young fan base. The Bank encourages feedback from its fans and makes the conversation two-way.

The Bank’s YouTube channel is a library to view its advertisements, watch interviews of its senior management, view product videos and share them among each other. The Bank’s channel has garnered over 1 lakh views in less than a year and has helped it to disseminate video information on other platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. It is also increasingly looking towards ways to increase its video inventory to further engage with its online savvy customers.

Engagement with customers using social media

Over a period of 10 months, the Bank has created a bouquet of rich offerings on Facebook — a bank account app, money personality app, deal-of-the-day offers sections, offers on banking products/services and a mechanism for customers to write to it. The Bank interacts with fans in a variety of ways — financial literacy, smart banking tips, safe-banking practices in addition to product information. Furthermore, it has a fully integrated method of handling customers’ queries on social media with a dedicated team handling these queries.

The Bank has also gone beyond just disseminating information and limiting its conversation to banking. It has also created games, fun applications and contests for its fans to enhance interaction.

The social media platform also offers the Bank a great opportunity to manage customer expectations and experience. All customer grievances are integrated at the back-end in a CRM module built especially for Twitter and Facebook. The bank has created a separate form to capture queries from the social media platform. A real-time online dashboard helps it keep a track of all the comments about the Bank. If the Bank notices that there are unhappy customers, it reaches out to them and tries to resolve their issues. This has been endorsed by many customers whose problems have been resolved. This is in line with its brand philosophy of “Khayaal Aapka”.

Using social media as listening posts

By using social media for listening posts, the Bank is building better relationships with its end customers. One of the important reasons why the Bank has decided to be on the social media space is to create conversations and be high on engagement with its customers and fans in their day-to-day life. As a result, the Bank has been the most-engaged Indian banking brand on Facebook.

“The insights that we have gained from consumers about our products and services have helped us in improving customer satisfaction. We have also increased positive perceptions of the brand by creating opportunities to listen to and engage with customers. The social media platform not only allows a bank to connect with customers but also helps customers to interact amongst themselves. Social media platforms also help people share experiences. It is well known that affinity towards a brand/product or services increases once someone recommends or shares their experience about a particular brand,” states Kannan, on how social media is helping ICICI Bank enhance its relations with its end customers.

 

Trust is vital in the banking environment. ICICI Bank realizes the importance of trust and has accordingly taken measures to ensure security. “We have indigenously developed the Facebook banking applications. Our technology team has taken into consideration the Facebook environment, safety and convenience while developing the application,” explains Kannan.

Unlike other banks which use Facebook only for promoting their products, ICICI Bank is looking at social mediums, such as Facebook as engagement platforms. The basic objective is to take convenience to a new level by allowing customers to avail a host of banking services on Facebook itself while socializing. With a fan following of over 9.5 lakh within 10 months and a couple of nice innovations on the social platform, India’s most technology savvy bank, ICICI Bank is showing other banks and companies how relationships can truly be built using the new world of social media.

About Author

Srikanth RP

Executive Editor

An award-winning journalist with more than 14 years of experience, Srikanth RP is Executive Editor with InformationWeek India. Srikanth is passionate about writing on topics which clearly show the business impact of technology.

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