Why banks and credit unions should care more about online reviews

Online reviews really do matter: They can boost a financial institution's search rankings, extend its reach into new markets, capture constructive feedback, and sharpen your company's competitive edge.

Most bankers probably know that their industry’s reputation for customer service has been lagging. Some may even know that trust in digital-first banks is improving. But they are less likely to know is online reviews — yes, lowly, commoditized pick-a-star and leave-a-comment ratings — can actually move the needle.

Here’s the situation: Customer satisfaction and trust in U.S. retail banks has declined significantly in recent years, with 13% of customers saying they are likely to switch their primary financial institution over the next year, according to JD Power. At the same time, the Global Financial Services Reputation Report shows that faith in new entrants is improving. The report finds that for 15% of people traditional banks triggered “negative associations,” versus just 2% for fintechs.

To be sure, online reviews have taken their knocks over the years. Google, the largest review site by far, removed 55 million reviews in 2020. And financial services is not a business category that lives and dies on the quality of their reviews (as, for example, restaurants and hotels do, on sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor).


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