Planning to resolve complaints via social media? Things you should beware of

22 Apr,2014

By Preeti Kulkarni


Mumbai-based IT consultant Manish Thakkar had almost given up. Despite several attempts, his bank branch had refused to entertain his concerns. Then, on the behest of a friend, he posted his grievance on microblogging site, Twitter, tagging the bank’s customer care handle to his tweet. To his surprise, the bank not only responded to the long-standing grievance immediately, but ensured quick redressal.





While both Twitter and Facebook can yield instant results, the former has an edge, feels Bhupendra Khanal, co-founder and CEO, Simply360, a social media analytics firm.


“In case of Facebook, the customer is required to visit the organisation’s page to post a complaint. However, on Twitter, they have to merely mention the company name in their complaints to bring it to the notice of the concerned banks or insurance companies.


The organisations keep a tab on these ‘mentions’ on Twitter using tracking applications,” he says. While the benefits are plenty, you must know a few things before you decide to get your problems resolved. The internet can be a financial death trap for those who do not take due care while transacting or sharing personal information.


There’s always someone prying to rob you of your wealth. Such people may come across as bank or insurance company representatives and try to trick you into disclosing your personal information, such as your contact details, date of birth, as well as your bank account or insurance cover details. Don’t fall prey to these fraudsters.


Make sure you are specific and don’t reveal any personal information. When you lodge your complaint, specify the nature of your query and location; mention the city, but not your address.


More importantly, never reveal sensitive information. “One should never divulge one’s account numbers, personal identification number (PIN), credit card numbers and insurance policy numbers,” says Subho Ray, president, Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).


Therefore, you can send a direct message on Twitter or Facebook, if you are asked to provide personal information, but remember that banks will never ask you to give your user ID, password, PIN or credit card CVV number, be it on the social media platform or via phone banking.


If someone asks you to reveal such details, you need to be on the alert. It could well be a fake handle of the bank or insurer you are trying to get in touch with. “A common mistake made by customers is to end up writing on Facebook and Twitter destinations that are not the official presence of the brand,” says Rajiv Anand, president, retail banking, Axis Bank.


Preferably, you should post your complaints only if the handle or page displays the verified sign. Even if the handle is trustworthy, ensure that there is no confusion regarding group companies. “It is also important for customers to first reach us at the correct brand destination.


There are lots of instances where we receive complaints that are actually meant for other HDFC group companies, and we route them to the respective stake holders wherever required,” says Tripathy. So, be sure of your posts to save on time.


Mr Thakkar is not alone. Browse through the Twitter timeline and Facebook pages of customer care handles of various banks and insurance companies, and you are likely to come across similar stories. Realising that any negative publicity on the high-visibility social media can dent their image, companies have become proactive in addressing customer concerns on these platforms.


They have set up dedicated teams to address customer complaints on a real-time basis. This advantage is being readily tapped by customers, typically in the 25-35 age group, who are posting their queries on the companies’ official Facebook pages and Twitter handles.



Banks and insurance companies acknowledge that visibility on such platforms results in quick resolution of grievances. “When a customer posts a message on the company’s brand page or Twitter profile, it usually results in faster response because it is out there for the whole world to see,” says Rituraj Bhattacharya, head, market management, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance.


Some organisations have trained professionals to address complaints via social media. “Facebook and Twitter are monitored as priority platforms and we make sure that the turnaround time for complaints is as short as possible and, in fact, real-time in most cases,” adds Sanjay Tripathi, senior executive vice-president, marketing, product, digital and e-commerce, HDFC Life.


The delay in receiving a response from customer service has been the pet peeve of many clients and social media seems to be providing the solution. “From a customer’s perspective, the advantages of lodging complaints via social media are immediate acknowledgement and convenience of filing it,” says Karthi Marshan, executive vice-president, Kotak Mahindra Bank.


Convenience is the other advantage as you can access these sites on an hourly, or at least, on a daily basis. “They have the convenience of sending their queries to us on the same platform that they spend time on a regular basis. Customers do not need to take the trouble of switching to another platform, such as the bank branch or call centre to resolve their issues,” says an ICICI Bank spokesperson.


All such grievances are treated at par with the complaints received through formal channels, including the branch, e-mail and phone banking. “The grievances received on social media are treated as formal complaints and are handled in a manner specified in the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) guidelines,” says T R Ramachandran, CEO, Aviva India.


So, if you want to escalate the matter to the banking or insurance ombudsman, complaints on social media sites will also be treated as official.


Source:The Economic Times

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