What Do Bank of America and Netflix Have in Common?


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Amid growing anti-Wall Street protests, a flurry of banking fees have been introduced to the common consumer, at a time when the US economy is stuttering. Needless to say, public sentiment towards the banking sector has deteriorated significantly.

A few months ago, when some of the new banking fees were being publicly discussed for the first time, Attensity discovered (by analyzing a month’s worth of Twitter data across a number of banks) that customers were actually more likely to churn (or switch banks) based on service-related issues rather than because of new fees. Since then, and with Bank of America’s recent announcement regarding ATM and Debit fees, fees are now imminent. And within Social Media there are now loud voices expressing intent to churn, with attrition to Credit Unions being the most popular alternative. The power of collective persuasion has never been stronger!

So What Does Netflix Have to Do with This?

Netflix Facebook Comments

At the time of writing this blog, public reaction to Netflix’s recent decision to break out separate businesses for DVDs versus streaming was so vociferous (losing approximately 1 million customers was probably also a key factor) that Netflix reverted back to its existing business model. In fact, consider for a moment the reaction on Netflix’s Facebook page to this U-turn announcement.

For every other person who liked that announcement, an actual comment was expressed. Those are incredibly high levels of Facebook engagement for any brand! More on the link between Netflix and BofA later…

Given Bank of America’s recent announcement of a monthly $5 debit card user fee, a series of questions emerges. For some, there may be no obvious answer. However, by leveraging Attensity’s deep Facebook Analytics, we can at least provide a better picture of the prevailing themes. Consider the initial announcement that appeared on Money CNN last week. A quick analysis of the reactions to this announcement on Facebook offers a few initial insights:

  • Almost every comment about the debit fee was intensely negative and those comments were liked by someone (average likes = 0.92). While low compared to standard Facebook metrics, this number is relatively high when we look at related comments on reactions to a subsequent quote from Bank of America’s CEO about the $5 debit fee.
  • At Risk Customer Behavior is mostly tied to churn threats, with consumers most commonly mentioning Credit Unions as the place to go.
  • BofA is perceived as being “greedy” and pursuing “Excessive Profits.”

Bank of America sentiment analysis

Wow, now that’s intense. So far, little to no reaction from BofA.

Understand “Suggestive Voice” To See Where to Take Action!

The ability to differentiate between someone who states an intent to switch to a Credit Union versus someone who is “persuading” or suggesting that you do so is an important distinction in determining how to respond to this kind of feedback. Using Attensity, we broke out 2 categories: 1) “At Risk-Churn to Credit Union”; 2) “At Risk-Suggest Join CU” which in theory could be easily combined, but let’s discuss the differences. First, we have an individual expressing intent to move to a credit union. Attensity is able to pick this out as “intent” based on the text. However, this customer has not yet churned, and this is critical information to have when determining how to respond and who to target first –those who can still be retained!

BofA Intent to Churn

Now, let’s look at an example of an individual’s “suggestion” that you seek out a Credit Union as an alternative to paying fees:

BofA Suggestion

In the latter example, you are being directly “spoken to” rather than “told about”. This “spoken to” comment holds tremendous power of persuasion and represents an opportunity for engagement. The ability to distinguish that in text is very unique to Attensity, and can greatly assist in any customer retention or win-back campaign.

Let’s turn our attention to Brian Moynihan’s comment “we have a right to make a profit.” Without conducting any analysis, even the most casual observer might conjure up some sort of political association (“Declaration of Independence” anyone?). If that was the intent, then Attensity’s analysis can profile the Who, What, Where, When and Why so we should be able to understand if this message reached the masses and how it was received.

BofA right to profit

The “right to make a profit” comment triggered a great deal of negative sentiment, with many contributors almost mimicking Moynihan:

“I have the right to bank elsewhere”

“Yes, but no more than I have the right to a job”

“He can do what he wants, but as consumers we have our rights too”

The most obvious negative sentiment was around “Excessive Profits,” High Fees” and “Bailout” mentions.

Social Media Awareness – Netflix Woes Cross-pollinate in other Domain Conversations

Although the focus of this analysis is not strictly on Netflix, there were many comments that made reference to some of the challenges that Netflix is currently experiencing. For example, below we can see 96 comments that contain a Netflix mention typified by some of the following quotes:

Netflix word cloud

“Look what happened to Netflix”

“He is going to pull a Netflix”

“He should work for Netflix”

Mining BofA Comment Sources – Do They Differ?

Looking at the BofA data, the contributors to these comments who reacted to Moynihan’s quote (Yahoo story) seem to be less taken with what others have to say, with an average of 0.04 Likes, versus the initial CNN story about the $5 Debit fee where there was an average of 0.92 Likes:

Comment likes

In terms of the political overtones and whether readers view legislature/government at fault, we see 4 times as many comments around bailouts than mentions of the Durbin amendment.

When we examine the At Risk Customer Behavior (Graph 2) we can see that there is much relatively more risk of churn from these comments than from the initial reactions to the $5 Debit fee:

AtRiskBehavior1 What Do Bank of America and Netflix Have in Common?

Engage with Your Customers, They Want You To AND It Can Help You To Avoid A Disaster!

Attensity recently conducted some research on customer preferences in the banking sector and one of the strongest conclusions that emerged was that organizations need to engage with their customers, shareholders and partners in a more centralized and transparent manner. Customers want clear and direct communications about everything from new products and programs to profits or even losses. Attensity can help design and implement a Social Media framework and conduct subsequent analysis so that you can understand what you need to focus on now and moving forward.

Literally minutes before finishing this blog and after a period of several hours, Netflix formally informed their customers by email of their decision. Already folks on Netflix’s Facebook wall were commenting that they had not been formally notified of the change by email…

Republished with author's permission from original post.

James Purchase
As Senior Director of Business Solutions, James Purchase leads the creation of industry specific solutions. With James' strong consulting background in Data Warehousing and Computational Linguistics, he creates Attensity's packaged industry solutions which include industry specific taxonomies, standardized analytics and reports. James works closely with many of Attensity's Global 1000 customers to drive value from customer feedback into their businesses.


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