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Beware fool's gold

I’m sure the gist of this tale will resonate with the masses. One morning, I was having trouble checking what I thought was a simple query with regards to my online banking. After consulting the FAQs section on the bank’s website, I decided I needed to actually speak with someone. So I rang the customer service number as quoted on the website, and went through a long-winded list of options, none of which were applicable.

There was no default option to speak to an advisor for ‘any other queries’ so I chose the only one that involved the promise of another human voice. And then went through another long list of options.

When I eventually made my selection, the automated voice informed me the office was shut for another half an hour. I checked on the website – no mention of office opening hours alongside the telephone number.

As I needed a prompt response and wasn’t sure how long an emailed query would sit in a generic ‘info@’ inbox , I resorted to good old Twitter to see if anyone from the bank was awake. Sure enough after a few minutes, I got a response, and after a short exchange of tweets my query was sorted.

Now I’m all in favour of social media. The bank in question was clearly a fan. But the fact remains the customer service aspects of its website and automated telephone system sucked. Yes social media (with the right strategy) can help deliver the Midas touch, but brands shouldn’t forget the bigger picture – that equally golden nugget called ‘the entire customer journey’.

Social media can be a real gem, but it could end up as fool’s gold if brands put all their coins in one basket.

As for the bank and me – we’re over. I need more than just social media charm– I need the full package.