A survey of online banking illustrates how banks can cement brand loyalty and even increase market share through a thoughtful redesign of their online channel.
The survey was one of three extensive research studies released by Keynote Competitive Research, measuring the performance and competitive positioning of 29 banking Web sites. It rated and evaluated such factors as customer support, customer satisfaction and overall customer experience.
In general, the findings come as little surprise. Institutions such as Bank of America, which has invested millions in its online presence and security features, routinely ranked at the top of many of the categories.
A Marked Improvement
Among the other high ranking institutions was Citibank, which ranked number one in the Keynote Customer Experience Rankings for Banking Web Sites, with the best overall ranking across the 250 metrics measured in the study.
“There was a marked improvement on the part of several banks from the last survey,” Chris Musto, general manager of financial services research at Keynote, tells CRM Buyer. “It represents the extensive amount of work and investment made by banks over the last year in this channel.”
Musto also points to the rankings of two banks that absorbed major acquisitions during the time of thesurvey. Normally during an M&A, large service providers tend to lose customers as service glitchesdevelop during the transition.
Turning Challenges Into Opportunities
Chase and Wachovia, though, managed to turn this potential challenge into an opportunity to cementcustomer loyalty through their online offerings, he says. As a result, Wachovia and Chase gained significant improvement from last year to this year in online customer conversion. “Each overhauled their online offerings and used extensive user experience testing to make sure they were meeting their customers’ needs.”
Getting to this point required careful mapping of each bank’s new product. Basically, in order to merge the IT offerings of their acquired institutions, both Chase and Wachovia chose to start completely from scratch in building new online channels.
The upshot, Musto says, was the development and rollout of products that customers really want. Hecompares customer interest in the online channel to the marketing of products that banks roll out just to say they offer them, or to entice customers into trading up to higher fee services.
For instance, most banks say they offer high yield deposit accounts. Scratch beneath the surface, though, and you find restrictions or other requirements that limit adoption. By constrast, Musto says, “banks really want customers to use the online channel.”