Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Can SBI reach out to the Gen-X with its Tweets?

AFTER hitting the Facebook and YouTube, country’s largest public sector lender State bank of India is now back on yet another popular social networking site, Twitter. In a bid to target the young generation, who remain hooked to the social networking sites most of the time, the PSU bank has urged the users to...
“stay tuned for regular updates on our new banking products, tips and offers”. The account was launched on April 3 and the first Tweet said: “We welcome you to our official Twitter handle. Here you will get insights on our products, banking tips and lots more! Stay tuned!”
Already there are over 2200 followers of its @TheOfficialSBI account. However, the response of the tech-savvy young generation to the SBI Twitter account is not so enthusiastic.
“Targeting huge customer base as well as potential customers, there will be round-the-clock tweets on the banks’ products and services, as also continuous education of the customers,” the bank said in a statement. However, there doesn’t seem to any round the clock Tweet from the country’s largest public sector bank. Thus on May 4, there was only one tweet from the bank. On May 3, SBI Tweeted only twice. On May 2, TheOfficialSBI tweeted thrice.
The Twitter account also appeals to join them “for daily updates on our products, services, initiatives and helpful tips from our experts.” The SBI is also asking its users to share savings tips with the bank.
One Tweet says: “SBI provides the IMPS facility. Register yourself for mobile banking service and get MMID. Enjoy the instantaneous transfer of funds.”
The account is about promotional products aiming the younger generation who remains hooked to the social networking sites 24X7.
One tweet says: "With 15,000 branches, 21,000 ATMs and a presence all across the nation, we are the bank that the nation banks on."
Replying to the official tweet one customer tweeted: "Absolutely..but the branches need to build rapport with the common man..twitter is only a beginning.."
It also contains some interesting tips for the customers to avoid fraud. “Know all charges associated with your bank account. Always request for a monthly statement via email,” says another Tweet.
Earlier, SBI joined YouTube and Facebook to reach out to young customers to leverage its banking services.
Mid-sized private sector lender Kotak Mahindra Bank had last month launched twitter-linked current accounts.
However, the bank had launched its Twitter account sometime back which turned out to be a disaster. Immediately after its launch, there ensued a barrage of complaints about the alleged poor services offered by the bank. In order to handle all sorts of queries that were put up on a daily basis, it needs quick back-up support as people tweeting don't have patience. Its earlier experiment led to bad publicity of the bank. In fact, if a user doesn’t get immediate feedback from Twitter, his enthusiasm slackens and next time he may not be using that Twitter account again. What the SBI needs is strong back up staff to update the account and such staff must be well-versed to answer any complaint.
Last time, the bank had 7,000 followers with close to 2,000 tweets. The bank last tweeted in January last year. "Your new business partner - State Bank Business Debt Card !!! Unparalleled convenience, cost control and cost savings," said the last tweet.
However, it said "We will soon be back on twitter."
Some private banks are already very aggressive on Facebook. For instance, ICICI Bank, the largest private bank, has 2.6 million 'likes' on its Facebook page, while SBI so far has just 52,842.
There are an estimated 80 million users of Facebook across India and 40 percent of them are below 30. After shifting gradually from a corporate bank to a retail bank, SBI is now slowly strategizing to play a bigger role on the social media to link up with its customers. India has the third-largest number of Internet users at more than 238 million, with a majority of them youth. This includes over a 100 million people active on social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter. According to a recent study of the 123 million Internet users in India, 67 percent have a Twitter account.

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