If you haven't seen the classic video United Breaks Guitars, a YouTube posting from a band who claims their guitars were broken on a United Airlines flight, it is a must see. This video has received over 9 million hits on YouTube and is a classic example of why companies must embrace social media and respond to customer complaints before they get out of hand.
J.P. Morgan is on its way to its very own "United Breaks Guitars" moment. Last week, I visited the J.P. Morgan Chase website to access my online banking and pay my credit card bill. The website refused my login each time I tried to login. Instantly, I panicked. Could someone have hacked my account? Is someone sitting on a brand new leather sofa, compliments of my Visa card, and I don't know it? My husband experienced the exact same issue logging into his account. Perplexed and concerned, we looked all over the website for a message indicating they were experiencing technical difficulties.
I visited Twitter and Facebook searching for a J.P. Morgan fan page or message board. I was surprised that J.P. Morgan didn't have one social media page for its customers. My husband grew even more frustrated when he called customer service to stay on hold over 30 minutes and eventually hung up.
In a last-ditch effort, I performed a Google search on J.P. Morgan. To my astonishment (and J.P. Morgan's horror) hundreds of negative articles regarding an "outage" shot to the top off Google's search results. Below are just a few online news releases from well-known outlets. You'll find numerous "comments" from customers under these stories - customers who are headed to the bank to close their J.P. Morgan accounts. This incident is a crushing blow to the scathed, post-bailout banking industry. In fact, I'm waiting to see which customer posts the first "J.P. Morgan Breaks Online Banking" video on YouTube.
J.P. Morgan's online banking crash affected hundreds of thousands of customers, yet they had no communication and/or social media plan in place to communicate with their customers. If they did, they didn't use it.
Two days later, after the dust settled, I visited the website to log into my online banking account. Right away, I saw a huge "WE APOLOGIZE" on the J.P. Morgan homepage. There was also an e-mail in my J.P. Morgan in-box with the following apology:
Subject: We apologize for the recent difficulties with our websiteWe are sorry for the difficulties that recently affected our website, and we apologize for not communicating better with you during this issue. Giving you 24-hour access to your banking is of the utmost importance to us. This was not the level of service we know you expect, and we will work hard to serve you better in the future and to communicate with you better if a situation like this should arise again. Online Bill Payments scheduled for September 13, 14 or 15 were processed by Wednesday night, September 15. It is not necessary to reschedule these payments. If you scheduled a payment during those dates, but do not see it reflected in your payment activity by September 16, please contact us (Contact Us).
We will refund any late fees that you may have incurred as a result of our delay in processing your payment. Thank you for your patience and for the opportunity to work harder to serve you in the future.++
I commend them for an effective crisis communication plan (take responsibility, explain the issue, and say what you're doing to fix it). Today's news says J.P. Morgan publicly blames Oracle for the crash stating, "The third party suppliers' database software corrupted systems information and this prevented customers from logging in to Chase.com." They have taken responsibility and explained the issue, but haven't addressed what they're doing to fix it.
I believe J.P. Morgan should embrace this experience as a lesson learned and part of the fix should involve a social media strategy. With a social media strategy in place, they can proactively notify customers of technical issues, publicly address complaints, and communicate resolutions. An effective strategy would use one or more of the following channels. These channels allow customers to vent frustration and give J.P. Morgan the opportunity to actively listen and respond.
Blog - executive and/or customer service
Automated message - customer service
Automated live chat response - customer service
Facebook Fan Page - posts
Twitter - tweet updates
If J.P. Morgan was prepared with an effective social media and/or communication strategy they could have deployed it in a timely manner, educated their customers, assuaged their fears, and saved face. J.P. Morgan's customers wanted to hear, "We hear you, we get it, we are on it, and please stick with us."
BKV enjoys helping our clients build social media strategies that build relationships with their customers. Now more than ever, it is critical to maintain an open dialogue with customers. Customers want to feel heard and today's tools and technology put the power in their hands to do so. Social media allows you to proactively foster open, two-way communication with customers which is much easier than trying to win a disgruntled customer back.
BKV is proud to partner with clients and help them build a strong social media strategy. In fact, BKV can help our clients stay away from the "What Not To Do" hall of fame that United Airlines helped establish and J.P. Morgan has recently been inducted into.