The National Australia Bank (NAB) has opened a social-media command centre in Melbourne, and is extending social-media customer support to seven days per week.
Located within the NAB Academy at Docklands, Melbourne, the social-media command centre consists of five big displays around one room, and runs on Salesforce software. It is manned by seven full-time staff members from the digital, marketing, and corporate affairs team.
"This will enable us to stay informed and in touch with what has been communicated out in the social space about us, all the positive and negative stuff," NAB general manager of direct banking Sam Plowman told ZDNet. "On the negative front, it helps us listen, learn, and absolutely correct where we can, so getting in touch with our customer base in real time."
While no company wants to hear negative comments from customers, especially not in a public forum like Twitter, it is better to engage an angry customer and nip the situation in the bud than it is to ignore it entirely, he said.
"We see that as an opportunity to get in touch with customers to remedy the situation, to make sure it doesn't happen again," Plowman said. "At least the customer is seeing we are being proactive to either their statement or their question."
According to NAB, the bank receives around 5,000 comments on social-media networks, and resolves 600 customer-service requests through these networks. It currently has over 135,000 followers across Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Google+.
However, NAB still gets most of its customer queries over the phone.
"But we're investing at the front end, because we really expect the demand to come as more of our customers become more familiar with dealing with us through social media," Plowman said.
NAB had previously dealt with customers through social media five days per week. That has now been extended to seven days, though the service is not available around the clock just yet, Plowman said.
The social-media centre is in no way meant to supplant traditional ways that customers communicate with the bank, but will be used to complement existing channels, he said.