Mention the financial service industry and chances are you conjure up images somewhere between It’s a Wonderful Life and The Wolf of Wall Street. What you might not imagine is an emerging community center, replete with conveniences like Wi-Fi and touchscreens available to customers along with the ability to connect with banks via social networks. Welcome to the new face of the financial institution. What you find here might surprise you. And it might also inspire you to add a little social to your own sales space.

“We strive to create fans, not customers. We have a culture that’s all about surprise and delight.” — Metro Bank’s Paul Mariott-Clarke

Spurred by the maturing digital customer and the reality of a post-financial-crisis world, banks and other financial institutions across the globe are shifting from a transaction-based business model to a customer-centric one, becoming more “social” along the way. The UK’s Metro Bank, for instance, has embraced mobile technology and social media in a concerted effort to connect with customers on their own terms. Their mantra of creating fans is more than lip service as they have created a whole operating model focused on the customer. And the bank’s use of social engagement technology has further allowed employees from sales, marketing, and service to instantly track social sentiment and quickly provide their customers with personalized answers on social media.

Across the pond, US institutions are making equally significant strides. Portland-based Umpqua Bank encourages its branches to host onsite events, which so far have included everything from knitting circles to video bowling leagues and yoga classes. Major banks are joining the revolution as well, making use of CRM and unified service desk call center tools to provide their millions of customers with a better standard of service. And by tapping into social sentiment tools and tracking customer comments on the Web and social sites, banks can now also identify the most vexing or frustrating issues for their customers and proactively address or mitigate those concerns.

All of these customer relationship management (CRM) tools play a part in helping your bank get to know you better. By collecting data on social networks and tracking customer interactions, preferences, and purchases, banks gain a clearer picture of who you are. With your consent, they can take it to another level with social networking. Now your bank can stay abreast of new life events and proactively recommend product offerings that are specific to those events.  

While CRM and social tools certainly help you to better connect with your bank, you might still be wondering about how that translates to higher sales. Bankers are knowledgeable when it comes to money and financial matters but in this constant “on-the-go” society it can be hard for them to find an opportunity to share that expertise with their customers. Social networks allow them to impart knowledge in a convenient and interactive way. Utilizing channels many customers already use in their daily lives, banking organizations can post financial news or new product or offer information via social sites, or provide more personalized recommendations via your social site of choice (with your consent of course). Now, when you start up a new business, need a new financial instrument, or want to save for a new purchase, you have convenient social channels at your disposal in addition to the traditional channels (branch, call center, and so on). And that in turns leads to greater information sharing, trust, and ultimately additional products purchased.

And when you come to think of it, being a little more social is good for all of us. For a closer look at how banks are using the best CRM tools at their disposal to help you reach your goals, check out this quick video. Then imagine what you can do with the same powerful technology at your side.