Bank of America insights make a case for social media data analytics

To demonstrate the power of text analysis for gaining customer experience insights, Beyond the Arc analyzed publicly available data on social media websites Facebook and Twitter to identify key trends in what people were saying about Bank of America.  As the largest bank in America by assets (over 12% of US deposits), industry analysts note that the bank has maximized its share of deposits through acquisitions and may soon need to increase its rate of organic growth or make acquisitions in non-deposit lines of business –which signals a strong need to concentrate on customer experience.

Working with social media data about Bank of America

From March 2 – 14, 2011, our data team gathered over 41,000 comments about Bank of America.

We narrowed in on over 9,000 unique comments, 88% of which were short, sentiment-driven tweets, and 12% Facebook comments that were more narrative in nature.

Using text mining tools, and leveraging our financial services expertise, our team uncovered primary themes of concern about the bank, including:

  • Mint.com – A linkage problem between Mint.com and Bank of America caused many customers extreme dissatisfaction, which they expressed through Twitter and Facebook. Some threatened to leave the bank and others claimed Bank of America had told them the bank had severed ties with Mint.com, a mistaken rumor that was often repeated. While the issue was fixed a week later, the announcement came from Mint.com, with Bank of America never responding to the surge of customer concern.
  • Service breaks - We identified about 20 actionable service breaks such as:
    • A failure to send out new debit cards to customers whose cards had expired
    • Payments that hadn’t posted on time
    • Tax forms that hadn’t arrived
    • Duplicate charges

    As service breaks frustrate customers and are often a motivating factor in switching banks, these issues spotlight key areas requiring further analysis.

  • $50 limit on debit card transactions - Customers were outraged by a news article that indicated Bank of America might impose a $50 limit on debit card transactions. While the bank had not mentioned it directly, this issue was a hot topic in social media –with many customers threatening to leave the bank if this change occurs.

Using data to drive customer experience improvements

Analyzing social media data allows banks to identify key issues as they arise and react quickly before they spiral out of control.  In the Mint.com example, with text analytics, Bank of America could have quickly identified concerns and proactively updated customers on the situation, instead of allowing misinformation to spread.  In future posts, we’ll address how banks can analyze social media data to determine key themes and categorizations of customer comments.  This analysis can translate insights into actionable improvements that drive a better customer experience.

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