Monday, June 18, 2012

Study: Online chatter about big banks mostly positive

Consumers who discuss their banks online have mostly positive things to say, despite widespread backlash against bank fees and continued economic uncertainty, a new report found.

Social media marketing agency Social Media Explorer's "Conversation Report: What Consumers Are Saying About Banking" found an overall favorable tone in online discussions. But the study revealed a mix of positive and negative chatter about the nation's 25 largest banks -- with some customers complaining about the same products or services others praised.

"In general, customers are either fickle or inconsistent," the report said. "Bank marketers will have to accept negative online reactions as a cost of doing business."

Charlotte-based Bank of America Corp. grabbed the biggest chunk of the conversations, at nearly 25 percent, according to the study, which aims to help banks better understand how to monitor and respond to what customers are saying online. That was well above rivals JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co., which made up 17 percent and 10 percent of online conversations, respectively.

Unsurprisingly, most of the chatter about Bank of America involved its widely criticized $5 debit card fee, which was rolled out and then scrapped last fall, during the course of the study.

As a result, "we can say with a fair amount of confidence that most people mentioning BOA online are not doing so in a favorable light," the report said.

Customers who did speak positively about the bank mentioned its customer service, Twitter support, online banking and flexibility in debit card design, among other services. And despite the complaints, the bank still edged out most of its peers in its number of Facebook fans and Twitter followers.

Wells Fargo also saw some praise for its customer service -- with 8 percent of those conversations even calling out the bank's staff as "good-looking," the report found. Yet customers who complained about Wells also mentioned customer service and other gripes, from long lines to merger-related issues.

"When it comes to what customers think or say about brands and their products online, some will love them, some will hate them and many will remain neutral," Social Media Explorer found. "... One hundred percent of your audience will never completely agree on anything you do or say."


Anonymous said...

There is not much chatter because customers are leaving these zombie banks. For good reason as they are insolvent. Bank of America and Wells Fargo have billions of dollars in non performing real estate loans. No deposit insurance as these banks back their derivative portfolios with customer deposits (same system that MF Global used) good luck getting your money when they go poof. Its just a matter of time Bank of America will be either broken up further or require another bailout. Wells Fargo is not that far behind.