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Capitec tops in social media survey

Survey finds banking customers talk most about credit.
Capitec is known for its open and casual branch infrastructure.

JOHANNESBURG – With the smallest share of voice on social media, Capitec is also the only South African retail bank to receive a net positive opinion on selected social media platforms, a recent survey finds.

Research conducted by Ubiquity Consulting for the 12 months to June 30, finds that credit is the top retail banking issue on social media, followed by customer service, costs and savings.

The survey notes that FNB customers engage on social media more than any other bank, with FNB’s share of voice coming in at 35.8% and Capitec having the smallest share of voice at 10.4%.

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Source: 2014/2015 Ubiquity Social Intelligence Report: SA Retail Banking

The relative weighting of each bank’s share of voice may explain why FNB and Absa have the highest proportion of customers indicating their intention to leave the banks. At the same time, more prospective customers are looking into FNB than any other bank.

The survey, which analysed 7 334 unique social media documents pertaining to these five banks, finds that customer service is the retail banking industry’s “biggest pain point”.

“All of South Africa’s banks, with the exception of Capitec, are failing customers,” says Ubiquity in its 2014/2015 Ubiquity Social Intelligence Report: SA Retail Banking.

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Source: 2014/2015 Ubiquity Social Intelligence Report: SA Retail Banking

Facebook pages (as opposed to personal profiles); LinkedIn groups; comments on web articles; blogs; and forums, such as Hello Peter, include some of the data sources included in the report.

“Opinions are only slightly more negative than positive about banking fees after efforts by banks to reduce costs, while the market had a net overall positive opinion about banks’ efforts to promote savings,” Ubiquity finds.

All 7 000-odd of the social media documents were created by customers and other stakeholders, explains Ubiquity. In other words, industry-created content, such as company responses on Hello Peter, partner-generated data and data “unsuitable for opinion mining” is excluded.

For example, Ubiquity has elected to exclude Twitter from the data because it says that the influence of company-generated content can skew results while banks, by responding to Tweets, can influence overall sentiment scores.

Credit a hot topic

Using an algorithm, Ubiquity defined what the four biggest banking issues were and then defined these issues using an average of 16 terms to reflect how banking customers were communicating about these issues.

The issues included credit, customer service, banking fees and savings. Three of these issues received a net negative score in terms of how customers were communicating about them, with more than 60% of customer service communication negative and about a quarter of interaction around banking fees also negative.

Savings was the only issue to receive a net positive response, with 21% of customers expressing positive views on this topic.

Ubiquity found that credit is the main bank-related issue on social media. For three out of four quarters, banking fees and costs followed credit as the most talked about topics, but customer service deteriorated so significantly between the first and second quarters of 2015 that this has now become the second major issue for the 12 months.

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Source: 2014/2015 Ubiquity Social Intelligence Report: SA Retail Banking

This may have something to do with the fact that the bank with the biggest share of voice on social media, FNB, experienced downtime on its online platforms twice over the period: in May and June.

While Ubiquity excluded interaction relating to African Bank, considering the significant media coverage the lender’s collapse has received over the last 12 months, issues pertaining to credit have nonetheless made headlines over the year. These include changes to the National Credit Act, general distress in the unsecured lending sector and the debt collection process.

Author of the report and Ubiquity founder, Kaveer Beharee says the study confirms that customers do not only express negative opinions about brands on social media but will also comment positively.

Capitec said it was pleased to see the “fruit of focused efforts” to build social media communities organically and not through buying subscribers or forcing its way onto timelines.

“This unique approach needed defending against internal and external stakeholders…. We believe we will enjoy a more sincere relationship with higher levels of engagement and brand connection in the long term,” said Charl Nel, head of communications, marketing and corporate affairs at Capitec.

A recent internet banking survey by online market research firm, Columinate, suggested that Capitec’s no-frills online banking may be counting against it in terms of customer satisfaction relative to its rivals. 

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