USAA: Building Community in a Digital World — Live from BlogWell

2:15 — Kurt Vanderah introduces USAA’s VP, Member Communications, Rhonda Crawford.

2:16 — Rhonda: USAA provide financial services for the members of the Armed Services. We were really founded on word of mouth originally. When we started out we would call social media electronic word of mouth.

2:17 — Rhonda says that the key objectives are to facilitate member word of mouth, engage a network of passionate advocates, deepen relationships, collaborate with their members and other stakeholders, establish USAA as the provider of choice for advice, and drive innovation.

2:19 — Rhonda says they are using BazaarVoice to help power ratings for their financial products. This is used to help facilitate the member word of mouth.

2:20 — Rhonda: How many of you would sign up as a fan of your bank on Facebook?

2:21 — Rhonda is presenting a case study on how an Army spouse was able to use Twitter to help get resolution of some fraudulent charges. She then posted very positive blog posts about USAA.

2:26 –Rhonda says they use an interactive webinar to encourage a member dialogue with USAA experts.

2:27 — Rhonda: USAA is using YouTube for its built-in viral abilities.

2:29 — Rhonda says executive buy-in is a big challenge in getting social media into the enterprise. One of their big original stakeholders was their CFO. He saw a greater risk in not being a part of social media than in being a part of social media.

2:30 — Rhonda: USAA is in a very regulated industry and legal buy-in is very important.

2:31 — Rhonda: Find allies, even if they are unlikely ones, and start to change the culture.

2:32 — Rhonda: Communicating is really central to this.

2:33 — Rhonda says social media monitoring can be very valuable for helping with product management.


Q: Is most of your participation on the service side?

A: Rhonda: A lot of the earlier engagement was in the customer service area. We are doing a lot now to work on building on the marketing side or the services to our customers.

Q: A lot of companies are using Twitter for customer services. In the beginning there seems to be a lot of good examples of people getting help. How do you plan on staying ahead of the curve and scale your customer service abilities in social media?

A: Rhonda: My philosophy is that USAA is a customer service champion and I believe social media must be a channel that our customer services personnel are using. In the meantime, we are working on some interim plans to help us get there.

Q: Do you let your customers rate your investment management funds?

A: Rhonda: We have not overcome this issue yet. A lot of the problems come from the regulation in the industry.

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