Photo: Matthew Jordaan

If customer sentiment as expressed on social media is anything to go by, Capitec customers are the happiest of all with their bank, according to a recent survey by BrandsEye.

The media intelligence company analysed one year of social media data relating to Absa, Capitec, First National Bank (FNB), Nedbank and Standard Bank for positive and negative sentiment, with a focus on service.

JP Kloppers, the chief executive of BrandsEye, says that positive sentiment expressed towards banks was generally in response to specific campaigns, whereas Capitec retained a clear, consistent lead among its competitors.

“Capitec was also the bank that fared best in terms of customer service. Standard Bank and FNB, on the other hand, experienced by far the most negative sentiment.”

Kloppers says it is possible to dismiss this kind of sentiment-based data as measuring only moment-in-time satisfaction or annoyance. However, it could be regarded as a leading indicator – a measure of intent.

“In competitive markets, customers can be expected to act. If they are disappointed and think that another company will offer better service, they will switch. Customers new to the market will be swayed too – a great review from a friend or family member might lead them to choose a product or service from provider A over B.”

He says that between 2014 and 2015 Capitec was also the bank that grew its customer base the fastest – by nearly 18 percent over a year, a rate that translates into the acquisition of 100 000 customers a month. “Other banks, which were unable to match Capitec’s positive regard as consistently, failed to achieve even five percent growth over the same period.”

He notes that although FNB scooped the award for strongest brand in South Africa for the fourth year running in 2015, it was the second-worst performer in terms of social media sentiment about customer service. “It was also the only bank of the five that actually saw its customer base shrink.”