Back to DMR in the Press

Publicly bailed-out banks receive the most criticism on monitored internet sites , while Customer Care is the biggest service issue – according to Latest Online Research

Key Findings:

  • RBS is the most talked about bank, but accounts for 42% of the negative mentions monitored
  • Lloyds TSB, HSBC, ING Direct and Barclays are 2nd, 3rd 4th and 5th most discussed banks respectively
  • ING Direct has the largest overall proportion of favourable reviews – with a Net Sentiment Score of 71%.
  • RBS and Lloyds TSB, both bailed out by the government, have the lowest Net Sentiment Scores: -8% and 13% respectively
  • Customer Care accounts for nearly a third (29%) of negative comments on the internet regarding features and services
  • Among the services measured, Credit Cards achieves the lowest Net Sentiment Score (13%)

LONDON 1st February  – online market research specialist DigitalMR publishes latest findings from its monthly syndicated banking report, based on comments posted via a range of relevant finance related websites and open access social media platforms.

Results are based on monitoring the major UK banks: Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, RBS, Santander, NatWest, Halifax, and ING Direct, as mentioned on the internet across six months 01 July – 23 December.

Managing Director of DigitalMR, Michalis Michael commented: “the social media revolution means that banks should accept criticism and act upon it accordingly. Managing online reputation is no longer enough, banks need to engage with social media influencers to improve service and gain competitive advantage”.

1)    The Major Banks

RBS is the most mentioned bank, and although it has a 22% share of all positive comments, it accounts for 42% of all negative mentions of the banks monitored.

Lloyds TSB is the 2nd most discussed bank. It also performs relatively badly, accounting for a greater proportion of negative comments than positive ones. Much of the negativity appears to be driven by negative sentiment toward the government bailout of RBS and Lloyds TSB. These two banks achieved the lowest Net Sentiment Scores (see below)

HSBC was the 3rd most discussed bank, followed by ING Direct (4th) and Barclays (5th)

The most positively viewed bank is ING Direct, which achieved the highest Net Sentiment Score (71%)


Net Sentiment Scores (NSS) for major UK banks – July-Dec 2010

NSS provides an overall score of net positive mentions as a percentage of all mentions for each bank. ING Direct recorded the highest NSS of 71% (the higher the NSS the better it is for the brand). The Top Five scoring banks are:

  • 1st ING Direct 71%
  • 2nd Halifax 41%
  • 3rd Barclays 37%
  • 3rd HSBC 37%
  • 5th NatWest 36%
  • RBS is the only bank to achieve a negative NSS, with minus 8%, while Lloyds TSB is the 2nd lowest with 13%.

2)    Features and Services

The top 10 most talked about features and services in this month’s report are:

  • 1st Customer Care
  • 2nd Credit Card
  • 3rd Online Banking
  • 4th Loans
  • 5th Savings Account
  • 6th Bank Employees
  • 7thMortgage
  • 8th Insurance
  • 9th Interest Rate
  • 10th Account Balance


Customer Care is the most commented upon feature. It accounts for a quarter of all mentions for the top 10 services and features – this is nearly twice as much as the next most mentioned feature: Credit Cards.

Customer Care tends to polarise views more than any other feature. Of the top 10 features analysed, it accounts for nearly a quarter (24%) of all positive mentions and nearly a third (29%) of all negative mentions.

It is a key service for banks to get right to avoid negative Share of Voice.

Another key pain point for customers is Credit Cards, where the percentage of those making negative comments is twice as high as those making positive ones.

Savings Account mentions are overwhelmingly positive, and also the percentage of positive mentions for Mortgages is twice as high as negative ones.

These services achieve the best Net Sentiment Scores (NSS). Savings Account has the highest NSS with 96%, followed by Balance (78%) and Mortgage (68%). Credit Card has the lowest NSS of just 13%.

Most talked about features for individual banks and their degree of overall sentiment (NSS) were:

  • RBS – Loans: highly negative
  • Barclays – Customer Care: positive
  • HSBC – Customer Care: positive
  • ING Direct – Loan and Mortgage: both highly positive
  • Lloyds TSB – Customer Care:  slightly positive
  • NatWest – Customer Care: positive

In their words – some customer quotes

“Outrageous. This is not what I pay my taxes for"
"Licence to steal-excess interest-no service"


Lloyds TSB
“Not impressed that Lloyds TSB business do not offer Fast Payments”
"Card has good rewards but customer service is not good"


"poor customer service, high rates"
"don't like speaking to someone in a call centre in a different country"
“Despite being a model customer and having a lot of money in various accounts with them I have had some pretty poor treatment. Had my cards expired early and did not receive any replacements for a month, despite chasing them up. Avoid.”



“This month I have had 158.00 of charges, which has taken me 40.00 over my Reserve, resulting in excess fees for next month”
"Like the service but don't like speaking to India if I have a query"


“I have been a Natwest customer since I was 6 years old and although I have tried other banks, I still think Natwest offer the best service”
"have had excellent service with fraud problem and no other problems at all"


ING Direct
“Excited about the ING direct Android app that I just found out is available now”

“Use an online savings account that pays better interest, like ING Direct”


read more

3)    How can Banks use social media to their advantage?

Banks can use analysis of data from websites and other social media in the following ways:

  • Engage in a one-to-one dialogue with their customers and respond to negative comments.
  • Invite some of the customers to join online forums and chat groups to further express their views
  • Positive sentiment can be leveraged in advertising
  • Operations can learn about and fix specific branch performance issues
  • Financial products can be adjusted, and new ones can be designed to meet customer needs

About the syndicated banking report
The banking report monitors thousands of customers’ online conversations through comments posted on open-access social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, forums, blogs and online stores or e-commerce websites, for UK banking services.
The report is available on annual subscription with updates provided on a quarterly, monthly or weekly basis. Results will be updated to the press on a monthly basis.

For regular reports and more information:
Michalis A. Michael,
tel.: +44 751 571 0370



Share this article: