You know, the guys who took down Steinhoff.
After they dodged that bullet, they decided to do everything in their power to stay on top of their game, announcing earlier this year that they wouldn’t be raising their digital banking fees, even before we knew that we’d all be broke thanks to a global pandemic.
When Forbes looks into the performance of a bank, however, they rate them on trust, fees, digital services, and financial advice.
BrandsEye decided to take a different approach in their South African Banking Sentiment Index 2020.
In its fifth year of producing the Index, BrandsEye collected more than 2 million social media posts from consumers about South African banks from September 2019 to August 2020.
BrandsEye’s proprietary Crowd of human verifiers analysed some 500 000 posts for sentiment and conversation themes, including the Treating Customer Fairly (TCF) outcomes prescribed by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA).
The FSCA’s Banking Conduct Standard is there to ensure that banks operate with transparency and fairness. Part of this is a Complaints Management Framework that includes, among other things, the categorisation of complaints made by customers.
Thousands of these complaints are made on social media, making it the ideal data pool to assess customer satisfaction when it comes to banks.
In the report, Brandseye found that 90,7% of the complaints analysed contained TCF themes and 47% of them have gone unanswered by banks in the last year.
Nedbank and African Bank proved to be the most responsive, while Discovery Bank’s customers were the least likely to receive a reply. It also has the highest proportion of customers threatening to quit on social media.
Much like people who constantly threaten to quit Facebook, only to post in the days that follow, it’s unsure how many follow through.
Here’s a breakdown of the net sentiment recorded for South Africa’s top banks:
Capitec has held the first or second place since 2015. In 2020, it is the incumbent bank with the highest Net Sentiment.
This consistent performance over five years remains driven by the bank’s affordability. Despite its strong position, for the first time in six years, Capitec experienced a net negative Net Sentiment driven by the unreliability of its app.
Commenting on the findings, BrandsEye CEO Nic Ray said:
“In 2020, the banks faced an immense challenge in meeting the growing social customer service demands of consumers. Covid-19 has accelerated this preference for digital interactions and banks will now need to ensure that they are equipped to rapidly identify and respond to these queries. Our findings show that banks who are not able to meet service expectations yield high rates of cancellation threats”
The findings should be unsettling for banks who risk facing heavy fines from the regulator as well as the significant reputational risks that such sanction would generate.
Caroline Da Silva, Divisional Executive of Regulatory Policy at the FSCA, remarks that:
…the industry must pay close attention to digital complaints, noting, “monitoring social media will help banks identify the root causes of complaints and ensure that their customers do not have repeat issues in future. This will, in turn, improve overall conduct and help them deliver fair outcomes for their customers.”
It might be time for certain banks to increase the number of community managers responding to complaints on social media.
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