NatWest gets creative with customer service on Vine

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Twitter fulfills many roles for marketers, and one of the first that brands start with is customer service. We have seen brands open a direct conversation with customers on a scale that previously wasn’t possible.

In some cases, this can represent something of a logistical challenge, as brands look to find ways to quickly and succinctly deal with issues such as frequently-asked questions.

That’s one of the areas British high street bank NatWest has been looking at; it has come up with a creative way to tackle this by creating a series of Vine posts, which marks the banking brand’s first use of the video platform.

On Twitter, customer service is a huge part of what NatWest does through its @NatWest_Help handle and many of the queries the bank receives can take several Tweets to effectively answer.

Natwest wanted to respond to these questions quickly, in a way that put a smile on its customers’ faces. Vine was the perfect choice to limit its answers to a single Tweet. Working with its advertising agency M&C Saatchi, NatWest has created, and just begun to launch, a series of ready-to-roll Vine posts with answers to a select list of questions that are frequently asked by customers.

Joseph Sikorsky, head of digital media at NatWest, says that Vine has let the bank offer a clear and simplified journey of what customers need to do about issues, such as accessing their online banking services.

“We know there are about ten or 20 frequently asked questions we get on Twitter. So we looked at those and thought about how we could give a reply that wasn’t boring text only.

“Quite a lot of the questions we get are about using online banking. That might take two or three traditional Tweets to explain the online banking journey, but with Vine we can give a really clear and simplified journey of what customers need to do,” says Sikorsky. 

Part of the attraction of Vine, he adds, is that it fits with the bank’s tone of voice that Sikorsky says lends itself to social really well.

“What we want these Vines to do is help people, but also to put a smile on people’s faces as well. The style is quite quirky and we knew that would work for Vine,” he says.

NatWest plans to use the Vine posts, which answer questions on topics ranging from trouble accessing online banking, how to order a paperless statement, phishing emails and the bank’s cheque clearing process, as soon as its customer service team receives the relevant enquiry.

The launch of the customer service Vine posts coincides with a second stage of Vine activity, this time targeting new students ahead of the beginning of the University year in October. NatWest offers students survival tips for college (on everything from beauty, to food and cleaning) as many leave home for the first time. NatWest is backing its student campaign, called #Uniproof, with a Promoted Trend and Promoted Tweets.