Online bank first direct has launched a new social media-based campaign which showcases customer opinions, good or bad, on a microsite.

While it isn't quite as 'brave' as the Skittles decision to turn its site into a massive social media experiment (which it is still doing), it does at least link to it from straight from its homepage.

The firstdirectlive site has three widgets; one shows comments left on the site by users, another has live 'feelings' about the bank retrieved from around the web (above), while a words widget displayed single words gathered from social media sites:

The latter two provide a visual analysis of people's sentiment towards the bank, and categorises positive and negative comments, while the talk widget displays customers' comments. 

The microsite isn't quite as open as the Skittles experiment, but customers can post negative comments, and these will be displayed on the site via the talking point widget:

It seems that first direct has a reasonably good reputation with its customers, judging by the sentiment analysis from the site, since mentions are around 75% positive, and, it reinforces the image that it is an open and transparent brand, so it seems a smart move.

Having had a quick search through Twitter for mentions of first direct, the bank doesn't have too much to fear from a more open approach, as used by Econsultancy, though judging by this unofficial reviews site that gathers opinions about the bank from Twitter, the same cannot be said for parent company HSBC:

Graham Charlton

Published 15 October, 2009 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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Comments (4)

Chris Rourke

Chris Rourke, Managing Director at User VisionSmall Business Multi-user

I seem to recall when Egg did a type of 'share the feedback from customers on an open forum on our site' thing back in 2001 or so, long before social networking, and think it got pulled because most comments were from the unhappy customers complaining, looking bad for the bank.  Interesting to how this works out.

over 8 years ago

Jeff McCarthy

Jeff McCarthy, Senior Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University Business School

First Direct appear to have a track record of using digital as a channel to engage their customers - as they did through mobile marketing 2001 onwards. Being prepared to 'test and learn' they increased customer trust, achieved higher permission levels and ultimately sales.

over 8 years ago


Charles Dalton-Moore

We have just launched, which shows that raw customer reviews sites like are not necessarily a bad thing if your brand is popular and you are doing all the right things to keep your customers happy.

The overall negative sentiment shown on suggests that a lot of content on the first direct site is rigged.

over 8 years ago


Richard Buettner

Useful information especially since there's not too much going on in terms of social media and financial services. A brave step into the right direction.

over 8 years ago

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