Are Banks Making Smart Investments In Customer Acquisition?

Consumers reveal what they want from banks online, but are the banks really in sync with their switching behaviour?

Santander UK Bank

We recently analysed Twitter conversations to learn why UK consumers switch from one bank to another and what their perception is of banks like First Direct and Santander.
Key takeaways surrounding two example retail banks’ new programs that enable quicker and easier switching between banks:

  • The conversation leading up to 16th September is characterized by mainly criticisms of Santander and its services. From 8th September to 17th October, however, the discussion shifts to users stating they plan to switch to the bank.
  • Overall, 17% state they wish to switch to Santander, while only 3% plan to open an account with First Direct.
  • Within the Santander conversation, 6% praise the company for offering students free railcards.
  • Around 19% of tweets about First Direct criticise the bank’s app and online banking. Some also complain about the absence of an iPad and Windows Phone app.
  • Both banks have roughly the same amount of users claiming they plan to leave (Santander: 5%, First Direct: 6%).

First Direct bankOn the 16th of September, a new service launched in the UK that looks to make switching banks faster and easier. Previously, it could take up to 30 days for an account to be moved. Consumers are more than happy to accept the change, as a research report from YouGov found that almost five million account holders in the UK are likely to switch banks within the next year.
In an effort to entice these eager-to-switch customers, banks, including First Direct and Santander, promise attractive incentives for joining. While First Direct offers newcomers up to £125, Santander is giving student account holders free railcards. These two banks, along with 15 others, hope to lure in new customers after the service’s launch.
In light of this recent development in the UK banking sphere, how are consumers perceiving banks like First Direct and Santander? What is bringing new customers in and turning former ones away? Using Crimson Hexagon’s social media analytics platform ForSight, we analysed the Twitter conversation surrounding the banks from July 1 to October 17 to better understand user opinions before and after the introduction of the new switching service.

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