First Direct crowdsources digital marketing

First direct is to crowdsource future digital marketing innovations in a bid to offer customers a stake in the products and services they will use.

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From today (1 August), the telephone and online bank will post developments on “first direct lab”, an open forum that will allow customers to suggest changes to digital plans.

Consultations on a website redesign, mortgage comparison smartphone app and the possible introduction of QR codes will be the first topics posted for feedback.

No deadlines have been to set on submitting ideas, says head of marketing Paul Say, but the bank will collate and consider contributions before the end of the year.

Suggestions could accelerate development of some products and suggestions, and jettison others, he says.

“Social media conversations can go anywhere”, Say adds, “the real test is taking feedback and translating that into ideas”.

First direct lab is the latest of several social media initiatives setup by bank in a bid to replicate what Say describes as the “magical rapport” it has with customers over the phone. The bank has regularly topped best customer service polls since launching in 1989.

Aggregation tool “Live” tracks mentions of the brand on external sites and corrals information to inform service improvements, while online forum “Talking Point” responds to customer queries.

Say says: “First Direct is famous for great conversation and social media is all about great conversations.”

Banks have been slow to embrace social media because of regulatory restrictions but are increasingly turning to the channel in a bid to engage with consumers that lost trust in them following the financial crisis.

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