Social media to the rescue in hurricane aftermath

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In the aftermath of hurricane Sandy, some banks turned to social media to get their messages out.

"Citibank informed customers on its Facebook page that its branches in Maryland, Virginia, Washington D.C. and Massachusetts had reopened today. The bank's New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania branches remained closed. But limited branch openings in those states are possible tomorrow, the bank advised, adding that customers could find support through the bank's Twitter help page," reports Bank Systems & Technology.

"Bank of America also told customers through a Facebook post that it would be regularly updating its branch locator with new closings and openings. Wells Fargo used Facebook to inform customers that the bank would be waving late payment fees this week as a result of the storm."

Other banks also used Facebook to post links to emergency access numbers and tips for rising out the storm. There are lots of fake Twitter accounts that emerge in these sorts of situations, but for the most part it would appear that social media has been a net positive for banks bent on communicating with customers. When the phones go down, social media definitely now ranks as among the best alternative communications options. All those banks who experimented with Twitter for customer services purposes are certainly glad they did. The return on the investment is much more positive now.

More banks will likely make social media part of their formal continuity plans, if it isn't already. 

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