How the Financial Ombudsman Service spots consumer trends

The question

The Financial Ombudsman Service wanted to get a better sense of what needs, frustrations and problems consumers were experiencing with Financial Services organisations. It also wanted to understand the role of social media in helping people share their concerns, connect with similar people and find potential solutions and advice.

Their aim was to understand these emerging needs so that they could develop services and communications to better support consumers.

Our approach

We looked for people experiencing financial problems, be this with their mortgage, current account, branch or insurance. We examined thousands of conversations to see what was worrying people and where they were going for help.

We read their stories, learning how they talked about what was happening (getting into the emotion, language, tone, context), what stage they were at, the advice that other people gave them and what they intended to do to try and solve their problem.

The answer

We found a big difference where people and business collide. We helped the Ombudsman understand the nature of these problems and the language consumers used to articulate them. We also showed how financial problems are often interrelated, a problem with one can lead to problems with others. The results have helped inform FOS’s innovation process and their approach to customer communications.