In order to offer a consistent service across all of its customer channels, banks must learn to encompass not only the traditional methods of communication such as in-branch, online banking tools and phone helplines, but social media as well. Multiple global banks are starting to take advantage of this highly transparent and demanding medium as a way of engaging with customers directly and solving problems.

Most industries, utilize social media to provide an ‘open forum’ environment in which customers can freely complain or give feedback. Companies can respond within a matter of minutes, which encourages higher customer satisfaction and promote the brand to their family and friends.

Social media also allows companies to measure their resolution rates much more closely, as well as reducing the costs of call queues and opening themselves up to a younger audience – something many banks should be striving for.

Despite what critics may say, banks haven’t missed the boat when it comes to delivering a more social customer experience. And whilst other major banks around the world might be already making waves through the medium, it’s never too late for UAE to catch up.

So here are five tips for delivering social banking satisfaction.

Social Media Can Be Two-Dimensional

Whilst social media is primarily a social platform and ideal for addressing customer problems, it can also be used as a rather effective marketing platform. Banks should consider leveraging social media data for marketing insights and using it to target social media ads, as a more controlled replacement for cold calling. Many banks have already made this shift.

There’s No Need To Overcrowd

Banks should focus mainly on just one or two social media platforms they feel work for them, at least at first. “[Banks] can’t be everywhere,” says Marketing Managing Director of Fiserv, Matthew Wilcos, in an interview with banktech.com. “They have limited staff to deal with social media” he adds.

It is therefore important to focus on the ones that your team handles best and establish a strong presence before you consider expanding.

It Should Be Interactive

Besides social media providing a reliable source of information and advice, it should also be an opportunity for direct interaction. This could involve hosting a TweetChat or Google+ Hangout on how to reduce card debt or get by on a budget. Facebook poll is also a useful tool to get customers involved and gauge their spending and saving behaviours.

Leave No Query Unanswered

Social media teams ought to ensure that at least 90% of social media posts are responded to, but should really aim for 100%. Of course there may be one or two that occasionally slip under the net, but these should be returned to as soon as possible.

Unanswered posts can damage your brand’s reputation twofold. For one, they leave you with a disgruntled, dissatisfied customer. Secondly, this neglect will lead to a more widespread perception that your company doesn’t care about its customers on social media.

Learn How To Accommodate Different Audiences

Large banks like Barclays for example have separate social media feeds and even different social platforms on which to share, engage and communicate with their varied customer base. Different customers have different ways of banking and will therefore require a different type of dialogue and service.

Barclays has several Twitter feeds and Facebook pages for each of its areas of business, sponsorships and services.

By following the examples of other global firms that have established a strong social media identity both within and outside of the finance industry, there should be no reason why this widely used channel shouldn’t be a lucrative tool also for the banks of UAE.