SAS and Deloitte, the business advisory firm, have released a social sentiment analysis index of customers' opinions about the banking industry.
By tracking and analysing social media, SentsCheck provides a fresh perspective into the events and experiences that affect consumer sentiment. It identifies key 'pain' points and moments of truth for UK banking consumers, pinpointing when they occur. Started in October 2012, SentsCheck has analysed more than two million social and news media documents. From this nearly a quarter of a million 'expressions' of customer sentiment, specific to UK banks, were identified and grouped in one of three key customer priorities: value, customer experience and trust.
Last quarter, SentsCheck found that trust in banks scored lowest of the three customer priority areas, and negative sentiment across all three outweighed positive sentiment by over 50. The index measures sentiment on a scale from 0 to 100, with 50 as neutral. It found that trust generated an average sentiment score of 32, which deteriorated markedly across the period. Banks struggled with a number of headwinds across the quarter that drove customer sentiment lower, including the continued fall out from PPI and interest rate swap mis-selling, Libor rate-rigging and concerns around senior banker pay.
The average sentiment score for value was also 32, with consumers most negative about lending products, despite current record low rates. Sentiment for customer experience was more positive, with an average score of 40. This was in part driven by customers leaving positive feedback on bank help-desk Twitter pages.
The index has also identified core differences in behaviour between traditional and social media. Traditional media typically quietens down towards the end of the week; however SentsCheck has found that consumers are most likely to take to social media to discuss their bank on Thursdays and Fridays. According to recent monitoring, negative sentiment towards banks was found to be at its most negative at 8am in the morning.
Barrie Neill, retail banking consultant, SAS UK & Ireland, comments: "The Libibor and PPI scandals have eroded consumer trust to very low levels so banks need to work towards rebuilding this. It is essential banks begin understanding best practices for social media engagement or they risk adding to the online negative sentiment levied at them. Social media is about engaging with customers on their terms, and this is constructive advice for banks. This represents the start of what SentsCheck will discover for retail banks with even more detailed insights expected over the coming months."
Louise Brett, retail banking analytics partner at Deloitte, adds: "SentsCheck provides banks with an opportunity to have their finger on the pulse of their customers' preferences. By having this insight, banks can respond to emerging problems in a timely and relevant way, but also understand what is valued by their customers. In turn, people can receive tailored solutions best suited to their personal needs, rather than those of the masses. It is hoped that with a forward-looking approach, banks can use the detail to both predict what might cause pressure points and also to capture opportunities as they begin to form."