Becoming brand’s ambassadors with Echonity: How clients write the bank's story

6. 9. 2023, Authors: Jana Svobodová, Denisa Lakatošová

The Online Community for ČSOB was established to better understand the bank's clients and shape the community in line with their needs and expectations. The fact that the online community has been successful in fulfilling the need for an agile research tool is supported by the fact that it has been part of the decision-making and testing process at ČSOB for the past six years.

With any research hypothesis, we must always consider carefully which methodological approach or research design to choose in order to deliver relevant findings to the client.

In the case of ČSOB, we took the following into account when selecting a research design:

  • We need a flexible solution that can accommodate different research hypotheses.
  • We want to learn about clients' attitudes, opinions and evaluations - we need to gain detailed insights.
  • The solution needs to be agile enough to respond effectively to the bank's needs.
  • We will work with different profiles of the bank's clients.
  • The environment must be user-friendly and accessible to selected ČSOB employees from different departments.
  • The solution will be used on a long-term basis.

And Echonity online community fulfilled all of these needs.

Understandable insight is complemented by sophisticated app functionalities

After six seasons of the project, Michala Neštiaková, Customer Insight Analyst at ČSOB, sees the biggest advantage of the online community in the possibility to understand how their clients think.

"The main advantage of the online community is the fact that it is a group of respondents selected according to parameters defined by us, it is a moderator-driven group, so it cannot happen that we get feedback that we cannot grasp or interpret correctly, because thanks to the moderator we can ask questions in greater depth and detail," says Neštiaková.

Other advantages of the online community from ČSOB's point of view include elements inspired by social networks, which stimulate the dynamics of discussion such as liking and commenting on each other’s posts, and polls, which allow to test research questions of any nature in Echonity and enrich the qualitative data with elements of quantitative research.

ČSOB also makes full use of Echonity's flexible settings, thanks to which it is possible to address only selected participants with a new discussion topic.

In addition to regular moderated discussions, participants in the online community share their experiences with ČSOB or its competitors at any time. These spontaneous reviews, which we call Diaries, often help to understand what problems are the bank's clients really facing, identify a dissatisfied client, enabling the bank to resolve the situation immediately. Their indispensable role also lies in the fact that ČSOB learns almost immediately about various activities of its competitors.

Bringing the results from the online community to everyday life

It is not uncommon in the ČSOB online community for a participant to express his or her opinion on a discussed topic and, in a few weeks, see for himself or herself how the bank listened to its clients in the discussion and put their suggestions into practice. For example choosing the best visuals of credit cards or regular tests and evaluation of Smart+ services related to ČSOB SmartBanking.

ČSOB employees from the Customer Division are those who work primarily with the online community. Participants of the online community thus have the opportunity to influence in the following processes of the bank:

  • Set up clear communication
  • Co-create products for retail customers, entrepreneurs and sole traders (current accounts, child accounts, loans, investments, deposits, term accounts, etc.)
  • Participate in the development of other services
  • Increase sales through digital channels
  • Improve the user experience

A heard opinion is a reason to become a brand ambassador

For many participants, membership in the online community is not only a matter of reward, but also brings in satisfaction and is understood as an opportunity to influence a bank's decision-making. Participants appreciate being listened to, and the real changes they witness strengthen their relationship with the brand.

"By involving respondents in real decision-making and seeing their opinion it helps to improve the relationship and opinion of ČSOB as a whole. In doing so, we build brand loyalty and subsequently spread goodwill among our respondents' family and friends,“ says Neštiaková from ČSOB.

We also encounter very positive feedback directly from participants of the community such as the following example, which was shared with us by a participant in the ČSOB community:

"At first I was sceptical about it and signed up mainly because of the reward. I was very surprised when I wrote down a bad experience with the branch facilities in my diary and on my next visit the problem had been fixed. So the reward just became a nice bonus."

So the Echonity online community is not just a place to form ideas and test hypotheses. It's a place where the phrase "customer first" is not just a cliché. It's a place where the client and the bank are starting to get along. It is a place where clients create the story of a successful bank.

Want to know more about using Echonity online community to work on your brand’s image together with your clients? Click here to book a meeting.

Contact: Jana Svobodová,

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