Does your bank want to be your BFF?

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The banks take the battle for Gen Y’s savings to a new frontier, using social networking to become the internet generation’s new BFF. Jeannie Messer reports.

March 17, 2010

The spike in the cost of wholesale funding resulting from the credit crisis has led to unprecedented competition among lenders for deposit and savings accounts. Gen Y represents an important slice of this market and the banks are bending over backwards to attract their business. And this means establishing a presence on social media like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

ANZ Bank has released a number of products targeting Gen Y, using Facebook and Get Satisfaction for their social online savings account SmartyPig and Twitter for ANZ MoneyManager. 

Other Australian banks on Twitter include @BOQonline, @Raboplus
@SmartyPigAU (ANZ), @Ubank (NAB), @Westpac_help and @YMoneyMatters (Commonwealth Bank).

In an on-line interview following their nomination for a Shorty Award (the Twitter community’s Oscars), UBank listed Facebook, YouTube and Twitter among the “six things they couldn’t do without,” and said “direct, unfiltered connection” to customers inspired them to tweet.

As well as some of the highest interest rates for online savings accounts (more than 5.75 percent p.a. for its USaver account), UBank rewards its followers on Twitter with goodies like free USB cards or the chance to win prizes in on-line competitions.

While these are fun incentives, the most tangible benefit Twitter offers customers is the ability to provide honest feedback in a very public forum. 

In March last year, the Commonwealth Bank made the news after a two-line rant posted on Twitter saw the head of their customer services team personally step in to solve a long-standing problem with a customer’s mortgage application in less than two hours.  

It is hardly surprising that Westpac’s website promises Twitterers “We will monitor the comments on our page and will reply where needed.”

Gen Y is not just the most tech-savvy generation; they’re also the most analysed, talked about, and vocal. Well-informed and demanding, banks are only too well aware that their loyalty cannot be taken for granted. And while competitive rates and features are important considerations when choosing a savings account, customer service is the factor that distinguishes providers from the pack. In this era of social networking, that means your feedback is more important than ever before. 

The result is a smorgasbord of innovative, attractive online savings accounts offering the kind of customer service and attention previous generations could only dream of.

How tweet it is! 

For more news and great offers on savings accounts follow us on twitter @RateCity


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