Revolut vs Transferwise — AI-driven analysis of +30k customer reviews during COVID-19
In our last blog post, we analysed 0000s of online customer reviews to gain insight into the customer experience of challenger banks.
We saw that convenience stood out among customer conversations. While customer service, financial benefits and security also created a buzz.
This blog post will concentrate on two players that have disrupted the FX landscape: Revolut and Transferwise.
Both cover a range of financial management services that you won’t find with your high street bank. And then there is the in-app experience that turns personal financial management into a joy.
We take a look at customer sentiment and key factors of differentiation. And dive into an impactful question: Has the customer experience changed during COVID-19 lockdown?
These two digital challenger banks are pioneers in fintech and have led the way for FX transfer mobile banks. Transferwise now has +5 million customers and Revolut has double that. So how do they stack up against each other?
Crunching thousands of reviews that read like a flow of consciousness is no mean feat. As explained in our first article, we used text analytics to understand the large volume of data, identifying customer intent and sentiment.
Each review was automatically tagged with one or more topics and corresponding sentiment. This content analysis led to 20+ topics that were common across all the banks.
Why convenience and financial benefits have been driving positive sentiment for Revolut
Looking at sentiment towards Revolut and Transferwise over the last 2 years, it is broadly very positive for both– with almost identical sentiment scores that sit in the 70s.
Conversations about the banking customer experience vary between the two.
Revolut stands out with a higher mix of reviews that centre on Convenience while the Transferwise reviews show a larger proportion on the topic of Financial Benefits.
Customer Service and Security have a lower influence on sentiment, with little difference in the volume of reviews for the two companies.
Looking at Sentiment over the last two years, both Transferwise and Revolut customers show high satisfaction with Security. The largest relative difference in performance is on Customer Service with a 9% gap in satisfaction.
Revolut vs Transferwise: A decline in sentiment during the COVID-19 Lockdown
So we’ve covered the past two years at a high-level. But how perceptions have changed in recent months is where things get really interesting.
The reviews over the last three months, from April to June 2020, paint a very different picture.
Overall positive sentiment towards Revolut has declined to 56 (that’s minus 15 points) while Transferwise only dipped to 68 (minus two points).
The percent contributions are broadly unchanged, although there was an increase in conversations about Financial Benefits for both. Customer Service and Security still account for less than 20% of topics mentioned and yet when we look at sentiment for these areas, there is a clear decline in satisfaction levels, especially for Revolut.
We now see a 37% fall in positive sentiment towards Revolut on Customer Support and 29% fall on Security.
Transferwise has also seen a 16% decline in Customer Service during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Frozen accounts have been an issue for several banks in recent months, and this appears to be having a severe impact on the banking experience for a small, yet very vocal proportion of Revolut’s customers.
When we dig a bit deeper, we see that not only are Revolut customers frustrated with difficulties gaining access to their funds, but they have also struggled with a lack of responsiveness via chat.
When an account is automatically blocked due to possible security issues, many feel neglected when they do not receive timely replies via chat. Especially if the customer cannot escalate their problem via other service channels.
“Absolutely horrible experience. After several months of using their product they locked up my funds for “verification”. Not only that but I wasn’t able to reach anyone from their side for weeks. After more than a month someone reached out and sent me a canned message that my account is verified. Thanks but no thanks! Customer support is non-existent!Be warned! Stay away!”
“Avoid them They Block your account with all your money in it for absolutelly no reason and refuse to talk to you for many months.Don’t keep money in Revolut because there is a very high chance for you to lose them.”
“Horrendous customer service and sttitude. They lock your account for months and then close it with no word, no email, notjing! Despicable service”
“The support was great and the two guys that helped me out we’re very nice.However, getting to the customer support was tricky. There’s no contact info on the website other than the chat bot.”
“I’ve been locked out my account and there is no one to talk to if you cant access your app your screwed you cant get support have money I cant access feels like I’ve been rob”
“I have a personal account with Revolut. It worked well until now. I am waiting for the chatbot to help me…roughly 5 mins they sad!Still waiting for them an hour later. I would never have taken out an account with them if I’d known they had no effective customer service. The regular banks are more expensive but I realise now its because they employ real people to help customers.”
Three main improvement priorities to restore competitive performance
The data model uses gap scoring on sentiment and intent to identify relative weaknesses, then prioritising areas that require improvement.
Three areas that could improve performance stood out in the analysis.
1. Service / Support Quality
2. Account Frozen / Blocked
3. Customer Service Responsiveness
Improvements in these three areas are likely to have the most impact on positive sentiment towards Revolut, potentially contributing an uplift of 19 points in positive sentiment.
Which would bring their score from 56 to 75 — beyond that of Transferwise.
In conclusion, online reviews from Revolut customers suggest a decline in their banking experience in recent months compared to the ‘rave reviews’ seen over the last two years. Yet Transferwise seems to be holding steady with a positive overall experience and with a non-impactful change in sentiment over the COVID-19 pandemic.
So, the message is clear. Both are loved for their digital banking experience but Revolut cannot become complacent on Security and Customer Service.
Next time we’ll take a dedicated look at Customer Service, which has proven to be a challenge to challenger banks.
This is the second in a series of three blog posts.
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