“I work for Bank of America and I’m here to help, listen, and learn from our customers in the Twitter community.”
— David Knapp, BofA’s
Last Week, Bank of America launched a Twitter account, becoming the largest financial institution in the world using a social media tool for customer service. BofA joins a growing number financial institutions who are already utilizing the wildly popular Twitter tool, including Wachovia, NAB’s Ubank and a host of credit unions.
Bearing the username “BofA_help,” David Knapp is the bank’s sole representative staffing the Twitter account. What makes BofA’s use of Twitter so remarkable is that the bank is actually putting a face behind their megahuge financial institution — using a real person with a real name and a real photo.
And most significantly, BofA_help isn’t there to foist corporate info in one direction. BofA’s Twitter rep seems to proactively go out and actually find customers who need help.
After brandondees said this (to no one in particular)…
…BofA_help was right there — within the hour — offering some assistance:
In an exclusive interview with The Financial Brand, Joseph Goode, BofA’s official spokesperson, said, “Twitter is a great way for BofA to tap emerging tools. BofA is reaching out, listening and responding in real time — during good times and bad.”
So far, BofA_helps is racking up about ten updates (or “tweets” as they’re known) every day. Working mostly on an East Coast schedule (and apparently not on weekends), BofA_helps can only do so much via Twitter.
“I work for Bank of America, can I help you?”
“I work for B of A. Send me a message with your contact information and I’ll see what I can do.”
It would be nice if the BofA Twitter profile had a little more branding. There isn’t any red-white-and-blue on their page — just blue. Lots of blue. And no logo. There really should be a BofA logo on this page. And there’s no URL linking back to BofA (very odd, when you think about it).
Tip: You can (and should) customize backgrounds in Twitter, adding photos, logos, etc.
Key Question: Will the general public trust and believe that “David Knapp” really works for BofA when his Twitter page is so unbranded?
BofA’s Goode says the Twitter account is currently in a testing phase, but based on this test, you can expect more down the road, including adding branded elements to the Twitter profile.
Here’s a very scary (and very real) hypothetical: As consumers become more comfortable interacting with companies via Twitter, don’t be shocked when, all of a sudden, there’s YourBank_help or YourCreditUnion_help — accounts you didn’t create. In this new (and inevitable) form of phishing attack, people posing as your service reps will try to pry banking details from unsuspecting Twitter followers: “@phishingvictim Just DM me your account number and I’ll look into it.”
Surely these phishing Twitter accounts won’t stay open long, but the damage will be done. This is one really good reason you should always be monitoring a Google Alert for your financial institution’s name.
Twitter 101: If you’re scratching your head wondering what the heck Twitter is, don’t worry. Check this out: It’s a good, basic overview of Twitter. Just be warned: Almost everyone has a sharply skeptical opinion of Twitter when first hearing about it… then they become addicts (as has been documented in The Four Phases of Twitter). Also, as you absorb other people’s advice and opinions about Twitter, it helps to keep this in mind.