#NaffWest – A lesson in how not to use social media in a crisis

This week millions of RBS customers, including those at NatWest and Ulster, were left without access to their money. Many, like my colleague told me happened to him, were unable to pay restaurant bills or for their shopping at the till. Isn't it a pity, you might say, that RBS didn't have some way of letting all of their customers know that they were having some technical problems that weren't too catastrophic and will soon be sorted, writes Billy Bambrough

This week millions of RBS customers, including those at NatWest and Ulster, were left without access to their money. Many, like my colleague told me happened to him, were unable to pay restaurant bills or for their shopping at the till, writes Billy Bambrough

Isn’t it a pity, you might say, that RBS didn’t have some way of letting all of their customers know that they were having some technical problems that weren’t too catastrophic and would soon be sorted. Oh, wait… Twitter. Turns out RBS also seeming forgot about Twitter, tweeting just a handful of times across their three accounts throughout the payment blackout (although they have been tweeting hard since in an attempt to cover their lapse in memory).

RBS didn’t only drop the ball on Twitter. The state controlled bank also forgot that people may want to receive this kind of information from the banks website as they try and fail to log into their online bank accounts. One Twitter commentator said that he went to log in, couldn’t and later found out from the BBC that NatWest was having problems.

RB

While it wouldn’t have solved the problem people soon became just as frustrated by the lack of information from RBS than the inability to access their money.

The bank also seems to be wholly unaware of the implications of social media and the internet in a PR crisis. That is, do not lie to your customers telling them the problem is fixed when it’s not because they will take to the Twitterverse and Blogosphere and broadcast your lies to the world.

How can a large company (one that spends easily six figures on social media a year) be so slow to adapt to the changing world of customer service and PR when start-ups (whose social media budget is often non-existent) manage to churn out five tweets a minute even when there’s nothing going on at all?

 

Tweets

Just a further example of how big banks (especially RBS) aren’t actually “customer centric”, as so many of them claim. Perhaps if people actually switched their accounts every time some thing like this happened banks would try harder to keep them happy.