What Can Public Consumer Complaints Data Tell Us?

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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau publishes data on consumer complaints about financial products and services. This data is captured either after the company responds to the complaint, or after 15 days. The data set is public and can be downloaded in excel or CSV (click here to view the data). Access to the source data is great, but the real value is in analyzing the data and obtaining useful insights. View the analysis on Signals platform.

How did we process the data? Simply by uploading the CSV on Signals. Processing was fast. It only took a few minutes to run all of the consumer complaints from January to March 2016.

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Signals lets the analyst unify the consumer voice, by offering a variety of perspectives and ways of extracting insights from the data set. The results from this data set shed light on:

  • Financial products and issues that received the most complaints
  • Banks and organizations with the most complaints
  • Company responses to these complaints

Since Signals visuals are interactive, it allows us to click on any information as a filter, and dive deep into the data. We decided to examine one of the three financial products that received the most consumer complaints: Mortgages.

Buzzword Cloud, Mortgage

Mortgage Complaints

The Category and Buzzword sections of the report made it easy to see that conversations on “late fee”, “real estate”, and “property tax” are prevalent in complaints on Mortgages. Wells Fargo and Bank of America, two out of the ‘big four’ banks are frequently mentioned among all the complaints and top issues related to “loan service” and “modification”. Signals enables you to look deeper at a specific bank or organization, e.g. Ditech, allowing a better understanding of the complaints and major issues for each institution.

Visualizing Geo Info

The Geographical visualization gives us a holistic view of where the complaints originated within the U.S. The number of complaints received from January to March, 2016 is marked by each state. As shown in the screen image below, California takes the lead, followed by Texas and Florida.

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Visualizing Trends

The Timeline section of the report captures the temporal trend of the consumer data. This function can be used to monitor incoming consumer/customer complaints, and examine trends. It’s easy. Select the time range you want to examine, and Signals will run it for you! See a temporal trend of complaints on a weekly basis from January to March, 2016 below.

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By quickly visualizing the data, consumers can make more informed choices about which banks are responsive and efficient, and which banks are not. At the same time, Banks can leverage this data to compare how they are doing in the financial market to improve customer service, and ultimately increase revenue. Signals is a useful tool for measuring the competition as well (see related blog post: Painting the Competition Picture).

Signals is fast, easy, and you do not need to be a programmer or data scientist to use it. Would you like to try Signals for yourself? Sign up for a free trial of our platform.

If you have a project in mind, email us and we would be happy to help!