First Direct banks on positive customer feedback

First Direct

I have to say I really like this new interactive microsite by First Direct as it fully embraces the principles of social media, crowdsourcing and participation marketing, whilst hosting all the UGC in real time.

The campaign focuses on consumer perceptions towards the bank and its customer service, soliciting responses on the website as well as aggregating brand mentions – good and bad – from more than 5 million social media sites. The results are presented in engaging ways such as a sentiment barometer, reminiscent of Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar’swe feel fine‘ experiment.   The way it presents all the content in real time is also noteworthy as it keeps the website constantly fresh and up-to-date.  In fact, it’s not too dissimilar to the intriguing online widget by the US telecoms brand Sprint which I reviewed a few months ago.

It’s a bold move for any brand to host such an open and frank conversation in such a public fashion, none more so than for a brand within a sector which has received such negative publicity of late.  But at the same time, if any bank can do this it’s First Direct, renown for its customer service and its enthusiastic fanbase.  Whilst there are some negative comments, particularly about its atrocious savings rates, First Direct knows it has enough evangelists to keep the balance of the conversation in their favour.

In effect, what they’ve done is harness the largely positive feedback and present it back to the general public in an engaging and interactive way in order to convince new prospects to switch.  At the same time, I imagine they will garner useful feedback as well as uncover new areas for improvement.  In fact, in 2007 a French bank called Credit Mutuel did something similar when they ran an advertising campaign directing customers to a website where they could give feedback to the bank. Once there, customers were invited to answer the question “If I were a banker…”. This early attempt at crowdsourcing proved to be immensely popular and provided some invaluable insights  to help them improve their service offering.

Both approaches are  non-conventional within the banking sector and for that they should be applauded. But above all else, by embracing social media so wholeheartedly and actively encouraging consumer participation First Direct have succeeded to differentiate themselves from its competitors, reinforcing their brand values of openness, honesty, transparency and their unparalleled  commitment to customer service – a brand territory which few other banks can honestly own.

FD questions


5 thoughts on “First Direct banks on positive customer feedback

  1. Pingback: Hebiflux » Une banque qui affiche le feedback consommateur en hom

  2. Pingback: links for 2009-10-16 « i noted

  3. “it fully embraces the principles of social media, crowdsourcing and participation marketing”

    Not really true is it? Doesn’t social netwoking et al require a two way conversation – not just customers shouting down an empty well? I was disappointed that FD have taken a great idea and executed it only 80% of the way. They need to be responding and feeding back to customers.

  4. It’s a fair point Craig. There’s no two-way dialogue as far as I can make out so FD have potentially missed a trick here. However, I still think they draw on other aspects of social media which make this campaign so noteworthy( eg openness and transparency, live feeds, content aggregation, letting go of the brand and empowering consumers to publicly voice their opinion.

    Insofar as participation marketing and crowdsourcing are concerned, this campaign relies on the involvement and participation of consumers to provide the content and should create a substantial amount of insights into how they can improve their service.

    Perhaps this campaign’s overarching proposition is more about listening than providing a direct portal for one-to-one conversation.

    • Richard

      Yup – can’t disagree with your points. I certainly welcome what they’ve done – although, I think they always knew they had a good brand – so the likely comments coming in were always going to be mostly positive. Unlike the Macdonalds experiment….

      I will be interested to see how/when/if First Direct respond. Let’s hope it’s honest and open (sure it will be) and makes some small but visible changes based on the feedback (not so sure).

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