Recently, two major South African banks – FNB and a competitor bank – found out just how important it is to have an online community
of loyal customers who will defend your brand. It all began when the competitor bank tweeted that it was filing a complaint against FNB for claiming it was the first bank in South Africa to offer certain banking-related services for free. The competitor bank followed that tweet with a series of tweets complaining that FNB’s claim was dishonest and misleading to South Africans.
What the competitor bank probably did not expect was the response from FNB’s online community members
. Twitter users and FNB loyalists across South Africa began to reply to the competitor bank’s tweets, chastising it for wasting time arguing about who was first to offer certain services instead of working on improving customer service and attending to customer complaints. The response from the online community was that it viewed the competitor bank as petty for using social media to focus on issues of “who did it first” instead of using Twitter more effectively, like to answer customer questions, concerns and complaints.