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How consumers vote with their keyboards for financial services: American Express leads the way in positive customer sentiment

Columbus 24th May –Online market research specialist DigitalMR releases latest April figures from its monthly syndicated banking report, powered by SocialNuggets.

Banks often get a lot of negative coverage in the media, but what do their customers actually think of the services they offer?

For the month of April 2011, DigitalMR analysed comments posted via a range of relevant finance related websites and open access social media platforms.It measured,not only the number of comments posted by consumers on the internet, but also their sentiment – whether the posts were positive or negative.

Results are based on comments posted by consumers on the major US banks: Capital One, American Express, HSBC, US Bancorp, Citibank, JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Barclays and US Bank.

American Express emerges as a clear winner with a Net Sentiment Score of 65% (see below). It attracts nearly 5 times as many positive posts from consumers as it does negative ones. Customers posted over 25,000 positive comments regarding American Express and its services, compared with around 5,500 negative ones.

Ryan Rutan, President of DigitalMR US, commented: “this report shows that some banks are now in a strong position to leverage positive PR through social media. Customers are often the fiercest critics, especially in financial services, so when a bank gets more positive posts than negative ones, it must be performing its key functions really well.”


1)    Net Sentiment Score (NSS)

A numberof thebanks achieved a positive net sentiment score (NSS). NSS provides an overall percentage score of net positive posts. A positive score means a bank has attracted more positive than negative posts, while a negative score means that a bank attracted a higher proportion of negative posts.

Of the 10 banks measured, 4 achieve a positive score, while 6 remain in the red. Not surprisingly American Express achieves the highest NSS with 65% while at the other end of the scale US Bank achieves the lowest NSS with a negative score of -87%.

The average NSS taken across all banks measured is -1%
1st American Express 65%
2nd US Bancorp         16%
3rd Wells Fargo          15%
4thBarclays                5%
5th Capital One          -3%
6th JP Morgan           -6%
7th HSBC                 -30%
8th Citibank              -37%
9th Bank of America  -51%
10th US Bank           -87%


2)    Breakdown of positive and negative posts

Because the large banks attract a lot of attention on the internet, they generate both positive and negative comments from customers. However American Express is by far the best performing bank in terms of the amount of positive posts it generates vs negative ones.
Amex has an impressive 44% share of all positive mentions among the top 10 banks measured. This compares with a negative share, of just 9%.

The second most popular bank is Wells Fargo. It is also “in the black” in terms of attracting a greater number of positive than negative posts. It achieved a 15% share of positive posts vs 10% share of negative ones.

Third most popular bank, Citibank achieved 14% share of positive coverage. However it also has the highest share of negative posts with 28%, followed by BoA (18%) and US Bank (12%).

Top 5 banks which attracted the highest number of positive posts (with share of all positive posts among the top 10 banks):
1stAmerican Express  44%
2ndWells Fargo          15%
3rd Citibank                14%
4thBank of America     6%
5thCapital One            6%

Top 5 banks which attracted the highest number of negative posts (with share of all negative posts among the top 10 banks):
1stCitibank                 28%
2ndBank of America    18%
3rdUS Bank                12%
4thWells Fargo            10%
5thAmerican Express   9%
5th HSBC                    9%


3)    Features and Services

DigitalMR measured thousands of customer posts across April regarding the services that banks offer.
The top 5 banking features and services given positive mentions in this report are:
1st Credit Card
2nd Credit Card Incentives
3rd Investment Product Stocks
4th Customer Care
5th Mortgage


1st Loan
2nd Credit Card
3rd Customer Care
4th Mortgage 
5th Bank Employees
When customers receive good service or like a particular feature they are happy to comment on it. Across April, DigitalMR measured nearly 2500 positive posts on Credit Cards and Credit Card Incentives. They account for 39% of positive posts generated from the services and features measured.

On the flip side, it is perhaps unsurprising that “Loans” generate the highest number of negative posts. They account for 22% of all negative posts measured, followed by Credit Cards (20%) and Customer Care (14%).

An area of concern for the banks is that Customer Care accounts for 14% of all negative posts, but only 10% of positive ones.


4)    In their words – customer comments

I'm loving my new Delta reserve AmericanExpress card! Best card out there IMO! big welcome to AngieLeeG new member personalfinance

US Bankcorp.
" I have dealt with three of US Bancorp's branches: one in Denver and two in Boulder, Colorado. I must say that I have have encountered nothing but consistently superb customer service, reliable and error-free banking, and convenience of multiple ATMs and online access to all of my accounts".

Wells Fargo
“We opened an account at Well Fargo when we relocated because our bank at our previous location did not have banking facilities at our new location. We selected Wells Fargo because they were merging with Norwest and we had excellent experiences with Norwest. We have not been disappointed. We immediately set up our on-line account and received both quality and friendly assistance in doing so”.

Barclays Bank USA just gets the job done. They aren't flashy but you know what you're getting with them-good customer service, secure internet banking, and reasonable interest rates”.


5)    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 monthly 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 US 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


Ryan Rutan
tel: +1 (614) 638-0216

About DigitalMR
DigitalMR understands what people think and feel when they share views online. It is a specialist agency which provides a holistic approach to web based market research. It specialises in utilising social media research, especially active web-listening, and online communities to enhance its business consulting approach. The agency has pioneered new methods in online focus groups alongside tools such as video diaries, bulletin boards and online ethnography. DigitalMR is headed by founder and MD, Michalis Michael and has offices in London UK, Nicosia Cyprus, and Columbus Ohio, in the US.

About SocialNuggets
SocialNuggets technology delivers real-time market intelligence for fast moving industries by analyzing data from various social media sources with a mission to liberate social media data and sentiment analysis for use in real-time research of brands, products and features. SocialNuggets delivers ready to use market intelligence for various industry verticals including consumer electronics and banking. SocialNuggets data is delivered in bite size, ready-to-consume, infographics and is also available in the form of a full access to our data warehouse for analysis and integration with customers’ data. SocialNuggets, a Serendio company, was founded in 2011 with headquarters in Santa Clara, CA. For more information, please visit


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