Leveraging Social Reviews to Improve Customer Experience

All too often, financial institutions often ignore (or are completely unaware of) what people think about banking. But there is a treasure trove of social feedback just waiting to be tapped that can improve the experience.

At a time when consumers are voicing their opinions on everything from airline travel to retail shopping experiences, most banks and credit unions are missing out on ways to better understand their clients. According to a whitepaper from Oracle and Efma, most financial institutions don’t have a full view of their customers and don’t review insights from outside sources like social media. Yet, Oracle and Efma did find that most of the banks want to improve decision making and improve the customer experience using data.

Many banks spend millions of dollars in market research when, in reality, many of the answers they need are right in front of them in the form of online reviews. Whether it’s a detailed review on Google, a simple star rating on Credit Karma or Lending Tree, personalized recommendations on MyBankTracker, or a candid comment on Facebook, the opinions, experiences and feedback shared by banking customers have the power to influence the behavior of those shopping for banking and financial products.

In fact, according to a YouGov survey, nearly four out of five American consumers read online reviews before making a purchase decision. Additionally, 87% of Americans who read any online reviews find reviewer star ratings important, and 34% find them very important as an aid to decision making.

The question is, how do you track and digest all of the reviews that are out there – both good and bad? And once you are tracking them, how do you respond and utilize of all of those insights? The goal being to leverage online reviews to improve the overall customer experience.

Online reviews provide a means for banks to continually improve the customer experience. Here’s what you should be doing to better understand your customers’ insights and maximize their banking experience:

Begin Tracking Your Online Reviews Over Time

It’s wise to begin exploring what your customers are saying and how can you fix the issues they might be having. While this may seem overwhelming at first, with dozens of sites collecting feedback, online reviews have a direct impact on your bottom line and now more than ever, technology is both enabling customers to speak their mind while also allowing businesses to take action and better serve customers. Creating a system of tracking and reporting so that stakeholders have the information they need to make the right decisions is a key to success.

Request More Feedback

Perhaps to the surprise of some, 7 out of 10 consumers will leave a review for a business if they’re asked to. More feedback, even if only from a few customers at a time, can help build a brand’s reputation, help to build a better experience for their customers, and create a more sustainable business in the long-term.

Evaluate Your Performance

Online reviews, over time, will address nearly every aspect of your service delivery including, mobile banking ease of use, speed of technology, in-branch service and courtesy of the call center. You can track and categorize reviews based on each aspect, and prioritize them based on what truly moves the needle for both your customer and your bottom line.

It’s a worthwhile exercise to take a step back and be honest with yourself about what is and what isn’t working. This might be something as small as acknowledging that clients find your online or mobile tool confusing to something as large as recognizing that customers don’t think your organization is keeping pace with your competition. No issue is too big or too small to be acknowledged, evaluated and improved upon, if necessary.

Listen and Respond

According to Harvard Business School, a rating increase of one star leads to a nine percent increase in revenue. With that in mind, it’s important to respond to reviews. You should say thanks for those that had a good experience and reach out and see if you can help the frustrated customers.

It’s possible the review based on a simple misunderstanding and upon reaching out, the customer was happy to change their rating and update their review to reflect the great customer service they received. Learning from those reviews is priceless… yet profitable.

Take Action

Share insights from customer feedback with internal stakeholders who can operationalize the information to turn that one star into a five. Is the mobile banking application well designed? Is the branch service up to par? Is the web site well designed to assist in opening an account? If these problems need to be addressed, task someone with power to delegate this work and see it through to resolution.

The digital world has empowered customers to be educated about what they are buying and voice their opinion to all their fellow consumers. It’s worth the time to be knowledgeable, be aware, and get engaged in the process of improving your service and products. It’ll certainly pay off.

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