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Power to the people! August 31, 2007

Posted by BCME UK in Social media.
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At least…power to the National Union of Students. It seems democracy is stronger than ever before and it’s all thanks to Facebook. In today’s national newspapers you will see that banking giant HSBC has been forced to back down on student overdraft fees following a campaign on the ever popular social networking site.

Gone are the days of long paper petitions or street protests – all of this can now be done online. And for your average person, it really seems to work! In this case, students have been able make a stand and communicate to their bank in a way that suits them…by not even moving out of their front rooms. Of course, I doubt very much that HSBC are feeling the benefits of online social communities are quite so great at the moment. But for your average person (at least the 5,000 people that took part in this particular petition), it seems that their voice has never been heard louder.

Some might say this has been a bit of a PR disaster for HSBC. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. All of the media coverage today has shown them to be a bank that listens and responds to their customers. Andy Ripley, HSBC’s head of product development was quoted as saying: “…we are not too big to listen to our customers”.

By responding quickly and understanding how powerful a tool Facebook has now become, they’ve not only avoided the traditional demonstration outside HSBC’s main Canary Wharf branch (you can imagine the photo opportunity!), but they’ve also avoided a mass exodus of student customers. Customers who are now more likely to be loyal to the bank when they become the top earners of the future!

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