Personal account statements from your bank are probably not the first things you are willing to share with everybody. Unlike industries interested in your current location, your food preferences or your dream car, the challenge to gather useful banking information from customers through social media is a little tougher.
Most of the banks developed easy to use web sites, included many interesting features like portfolio evaluation and most interestingly online transactions fees (like “bill pay” through checks) are lower than if you ask for the same service at the counter. For any questions you can use the online messages service and by doing so you avoid the long waiting times with call-centers. Additionally, Android, iPhone and iPad apps allow you to be constantly connected to your bank, check your balance and very comfortably make a quick payment for your rent in case you forgot.
Having all this in mind, a lot of banks managed to reduce the number of employees at the counters, strengthened the relationship with the customers and give them the feeling (especially with the apps) that you are more “close” to your money by having immediate access to your accounts. In that sense it is a big success. But even though these are high valuable benefits for the bank, it doesn’t give the bank much more information about yourself. So how can a bank learn more about you?
Citibank recently found a way to get access to your personal and your behavioral preferences. The principle is very clever. They launched a Facebook app which allows you to transfer/receive credit card reward points through Facebook!
The question you’ll probably ask is: “Why would I share them?” Well you can for example make a charitable donation. You explain the purpose of your points’ transfer in the app and sent them to whoever you want who is using the same app. If your target person doesn’t use the app yet, you simply send him/her an invite and by this Citi gains access to even more Facebook profiles of its customers. Additionally all your Facebook friends will see in their news feed that you made a donation through the app.
The clue behind the app for Citibank is that in order to allow you to use the app you need to accept that Citi can access your Facebook profile and most of your information currently available on it. By doing this, the bank can internally establish a much more detailed profile about you. It will be easier for them to categorize you in a certain “customer-type” and adapt their services more efficiently to your needs and preferences. At the same time, you build a stronger relationship with Citibank and start seeing the bank not only as a big random company but rather as a convenient and inseparable “tool” in your everyday life.