FAIRWINDS Finds Loyal Facebook Friends
Sometimes those fans on Facebook are real friends. Just ask FAIRWINDS Credit Union.
Since the $1.6 billion institution in Orlando, Fla., began using the social channel it already has garnered just shy of 5,000 fans.
Many of them are apparently satisfied members, said Robert Harrigan, the 142,000-member credit union’s Web design manager, even willing to spring to FAIRWINDS’ defense online.
A recent post from a 25-year member harshly criticized FAIRWINDS for a bad service experience, showing how credit unions have to take the good with the bad in this venue but still presenting an opportunity, Harrigan said.
“It really works as a two-way street and gives us a chance to follow up and address the problems she had and save her as a member,” Harrigan said of the unhappy long timer. “And sometimes when someone complains there, we’ll see 15 other members jump on board and defend us, so we don’t even have to respond. They answer their questions.”
But to make sure as many questions get answered as soon possible online, FAIRWINDS also has now pushed its automated knowledge base onto the Facebook channel. The credit union began using the software from SilverCloud Systems in December and since then it has answered more than 15,000 questions from the home page on the Web and through the link on Facebook.
The most common question? “By far, it’s what’s our routing number,” said Jim Thornberry, FAIRWINDS’ senior vice president of branch services. “We’ve undertaken a lot of serious initiatives to reduce our call center volume and this has become one of our most important sources of information for our members.”
The system replaced a generic Google search function on the site, which often yielded irrelevant or ambiguous answers. “Someone would search auto rates and get CD rates instead, for example,” Harrigan said.
The SilverCloud system came with a number of pre-loaded questions and answers and learns as it goes as new questions are answered and put them into the software. It also can be used to offer targeted loans and other products, and now it’s being used with Facebook, too.
The Facebook link has only been up for about a month and took very little work to install, Harrigan said. “SilverCloud did it for us, really,” he said of the New Hampshire-based provider of member experience solutions to about 220 credit unions.
The Facebook Q&A is just one of FAIRWINDS’ social media ventures and was a natural progression as they search out new ways to stay in touch with members, the FAIRWINDS managers said. They also have YouTube channel where they post education videos, and a Twitter account has been established.
“We haven’t really built a strong presence on that one yet,” Harrigan said of the Twitter channel. “It’s pretty much untapped and we’re still thinking about how we can best use that one.”
But, the Web design manager said, “we’re firm believers in having as many listening posts as we can. That’s through the branch or the call center or even through the surveys we post on the website. We just ask one simple question that we change on a regular basis, but it gives us feedback and it’s one more way we’re always listening to members.”
The new functionality also allows tracking of members’ questions to spot trends and possible areas for service improvement, Thornberry said.
All that feedback has to collated and analyzed, and Harrigan cited the reporting functions in the Silver Cloud software as tools the credit union is just beginning to use and understand.
“We can get a very good look at what members are looking at on the website, what they’re looking for on Facebook, all through the questions they ask and the responses we get,” Harrigan said. “It helps us narrow down what we should be putting a focus on.”
The credit union also is exploring how to deepen the Q&A interaction, moving next toward deploying the workflow capabilities of the knowledge base software. “Say a member has a problem accessing online banking, and we know what steps they’ve gone through,” Thornberry said. “We can set up a workflow that automatically takes the member through the next steps, from anywhere and 24 hours a day.”
He said they’re also considering deploying SilverCloud’s intranet portal solution, the New Hampshire company’s original product.