Let's face it, this hasn't been the easiest time to be a financial services or insurance company. Public perceptions of financial firms are at a low point in the aftermath of the subprime mortgage debacle, and health insurers have been made the scapegoats for an overpriced health care system.
However, social media offers a new way to interact directly with customers, and as noted in last week's post, some companies are learning to make the most of it.
Now, another company, USAA, has employed social media to help communicate the impact of new federal credit card regulations to its customers. While other financial services firms have been getting beat up, USAA, which provides insurance and financial services to members of the military community, has been receiving high marks.
As IDC's Karen Massey observes, USAA “has been proactive with social media forces, encouraging their members to contact them so they can walk them through a breakdown of the regulation and their new charges, as stated on their Facebook page. The same message appears on their homepage.”
She remarks how USAA has been doing a good job of communicating credit card fees. “There’s the value add! And based on the comments from members on USAA’s Facebook page, their members are quite satisfied. One comment says, 'Love how USAA always looks out for our best interest.'”
A perusal of USAA's Facebook site shows why members are quite smitten with USAA's openness. Along with announcements of Webcasts and other helpful material, there's plenty more feedback along the lines of what Massey reports: “If all banks were as ethical as USAA, these regulations would not be needed. It's a fantastic company and has done right by me for decades.”
Or consider this endorsement posted at the site: “I recently received my 40-year-member USAA bumper stickers in the mail. What other financial institution in the world can prompt such loyalty (totally voluntary, to boot) over that length of time? There is a good reason why USAA usually ranks in the top three U.S. insurance companies and credit card services; it is simply the best.”
You can't buy this kind of positive advertising or customer loyalty, not even for billions of dollars. And social media itself doesn't make this happen. But by opening new channels for customer interaction, USAA shows that it's keeping customer care front and center.
Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology.
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