For the third consecutive year, Capitec had the highest net sentiment in BrandsEye’s South African Banking Sentiment Index. Capitec’s low bank charges was one of its strongest advantages over competitors and the most positive topic discussed.
The opinion mining company published it’s annual South African Banking Sentiment Index, this year partnering with Certified Customer Experience (CX) professional and expert, Julia Ahlfeldt, developer of the Net Experience Effect, a barometer for the health of a brand’s customer experiences.
In order to rank the banks by sentiment and gauge public opinion, BrandsEye tracked 1 790 933 social media posts about the big five banks between September 2016 and August 2017. To achieve high levels of accuracy, BrandsEye distributed a significant sample of the total posts to a proprietary crowd of vetted and trained local language speakers. Each post was then coded and verified by crowd members, who assessed the sentiment of the post.
“The unsolicited nature of social media makes platforms like Facebook and Twitter ideal sources to gauge public opinion. By analysing social media, one is able to listen to everyone that’s volunteering an opinion,” said BrandsEye CEO, JP Kloppers, in a press release.
“Our AI system learns from how our crowd processes data to better serve the crowd with relevant information. If you’re using only algorithms to understand how people feel you’re probably getting the wrong answers.”
Ethics was the most negative topic of discussion by customers; 32.2% of Absa’s negative sentiment was related to the release of the Public Protector’s report on Bankorp bailout, with some customers requesting Absa to pay back the money.
“Capitec has gained momentum since its launch 15 years ago, and the retail bank now has over nine million customers, second only to Standard Bank by numbers,” says Ahlfeldt. “Our research suggests that customer experience is a key differentiator for the brand. Capitec’s Net Experience Effect score is 89, which is nearly 40% higher than the industry average.”
Elements of CX success
Reviewing BrandsEye’s topics and sentiment data for July 2017 against Ahlfeldt’s Elements of CX shows banks performed the best against their Value Proposition (-11.7% sentiment), with this theme being the most talked about among consumers. Of these, Capitec scored +34.9% while Nedbank scored +1.2%.
All banks performed poorly on Ease of Use, averaging a net sentiment of -74.7%. The lowest individual score was Nedbank (-83.4%) and highest FNB (-55.6%).
Resolution of issues was also a pain point with an average score of -56.6%. Nedbank customers highlighted this as a concern. While they did not generate positive sentiment for this category, Capitec outperformed others in the industry, with a -29.1% net sentiment for topics within the CX element.
Promise = delivery was the second most talked about CX Element, and faired only slightly higher than issues regarding resolution, scoring -51.3%.
“It’s clear that South African banks do have some work to do to keep their customers happy. Fees, look and feel of branches, reward programmes and technological innovations can drive loyalty, but only if brands live up to their promise to consumers. When they don’t it can undercut the customer relationship and erode loyalty,” says Ahlfeldt.
The South African banking sector is growing steadily, with three new entrants expected to launch in 2018. The sector’s growth is likely to intensify competition among the existing big five banks. In order for these banks to succeed they will need to allocate significant resources toward analysing and improving upon their customer experience (CX) offering.
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