Online reviews are one of the most accurate indicators of customer experience for banks, insurance providers, and financial services organizations.
Not only do reviews have the potential to either attract or drive away customers; they are also a major reputation factor and a key source of information for consumers as they determine whether or not to trust a provider.
Building consumer trust in banking and financial services
- According to an IBM survey, only 43 percent of consumers trust the insurance industry. In fact, the lack of trust in insurance providers has remained above 50 percent since 2007.
- In 2012, Edelman Insights found that financial services and banking was the industry consumers trusted the least — even less than they did the media sector.
- While the fallout from the big banking scandals and corporate collapses of previous years has since slowly faded away, a recent FIS report indicates that 75 percent of consumers agree there is still a gap between their expectations and bank performance across a range of factors essential to creating trust. “The trust factor continues to be a concern for consumers,” the report reads, highlighting the need “to reset the foundation for consumer relationships.”
Harnessing online reviews
One of the most effective ways to inspire trust among potential and existing customers is to monitor and manage online reviews.
- According to a ReviewTrackers survey, 68 percent are unlikely to decide on an insurance agent with zero reviews.
- In an Ernst & Young survey, respondents said reputation was a “very important” factor in deciding whether or not to trust a financial services provider.
- When choosing where to open a checking account, 63 percent of Millennials and 54 percent of Boomers cite personal experience, reviews or recommendations as being the most influential factors.
In the face of a one-star rating on Google or Facebook, your organization’s knee-jerk reaction may be to want to reject online reviews altogether.
But user-generated content and customer reviews actually serve as a great tool for building consumer trust, and successful brands and marketers have learned to use customer feedback from third-party review sites in ways that drive their search engine performance, social media strategy, and consumer engagement levels.
“Most leading companies are tracking brand sentiment and social media conversation,” says Troy Janisch, Director of Social Intelligence for U.S. Bank. “What they are overlooking are review sites such as Yelp, mobile app stores, and social media review pages. People write reviews most often because they have a really bad or a really good experience. Companies often approach review sites solely as a customer service channel, but that’s only half of the opportunity.”
Banking and financial services: 10 online review sites to track
Founded in 2006, Credit Karma is a website that publishes free credit scores, reports, member reviews, and insights to help consumers take control of their credit. It gives members access to their credit scores and reports from TransUnion and Equifax, with weekly updates, as well as analyzes members’ credit profile and makes product recommendations to help them save money.
LendingTree is an online lending exchange that connects consumers with multiple lenders, banks, and credit partners who compete for business.
By creating a My LendingTree account, consumers can track their credit score and review all loan and credit card accounts. The website also also offers a variety of informational resources and tools for borrowers to help manage their finances and have an informed experience: financial calculators, interactive loan coaching tools, monthly newsletters, and lender ratings and reviews.
Not yet registered? Click here to join the Lending Tree network.
SuperMoney is an online financial resource that helps consumers save money. It compares real personalized rates from multiple lenders within minutes, as well as collects online reviews of a wide range of financial services, from banking, insurance, credit card, and debt help to investment, loans, mortgage, and taxes. SuperMoney’s rating is based on a proprietary scoring algorithm that takes into account multiple variables such as price, consumer ratings, quality, and availability.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is a consumer finance marketplace responsible for consumer protection in the financial services sector. CFPB jurisdiction includes banks, credit unions, securities firms, payday lenders, mortgage-servicing operations, foreclosure relief services, debt collectors, and other financial companies operating in the U.S.
Part of CFPB’s work includes taking consumer complaints and researching the consumer experience of using financial products. According to its website, the agency has provided $11.9 billion in relief to consumers from its enforcement actions, as well as taken and handled more than 1.2 million complaints from customers.
If you thought Yelp was just a review site for restaurants and doctors, well — think again. The popular online review site also collects reviews of financial services companies (ranging from banks, credit unions, insurance, and mortgage brokers to financial advising and investing) from its users.
Google is the world’s biggest search engine — as well as a leading platform for local search and online reviews. Simply put: customers use Google in order to find great local businesses.
Organizations in banking and finance can build their visibility on Google by using Google My Business. Google My Business is an online dashboard designed to streamline the management of business information across multiple Google services. This is used to create and manage your Google business listings.
Based in Austin, TX, CardPaymentOptions.com is website dedicated to organizing a coalition of merchants and industry professionals who want to enact change in the merchant credit card processing industry.
It has a collection of merchant account reviews and ratings to help small businesses find ethical merchant services providers. Reviews on CardPaymentOptions primarily measure merchant satisfaction and provider policies regarding, fees, sales tactics, customer support, and cancellation of service.
Merchant Maverick is a comparison site that reviews and rates credit card processors, POS software companies, shopping carts, mobile payments services, and small business software.
MyBankTracker tracks thousands of banks to help consumers find the perfect match for their banking needs. Established in 2008 during the height of the economic downturn, MyBankTracker provides in-depth information on 6,000 banks and credit unions, including the latest interest rates for checking and savings accounts, mortgages, IRAs, and CDs.
WalletHub is a personal finance website that also offers free credit scores and full credit reports that are updated on a daily basis. This is supplemented by online reviews of financial products, professionals, and companies, along with advice from a diverse community of subject matter experts.