Crediting the Online Customer Experience
A superb online experience can have a significant impact on a bank's ability to retain its customers and attract new ones: 52 percent of the 1,349 online users very satisfied with online banking surveyed for a Jupiter Research report would recommend the bank, 32 percent wouldn't change banks, and another 32 percent would consider the bank for additional products. "U.S. Online Banking Consumer Survey, 2006," which leverages the responses of random online consumers from Ipsos-Insight's U.S. online consumer panel, examines the correlation between online satisfaction levels and propensity to stay and buy additional offerings, while also highlighting online banking best practices.
About half--53 percent--of the 1,045 online users who are very satisfied with bill view/pay would recommend the bank, 33 percent wouldn't switch, and 34 percent would consider it for additional products. Of the 704 online users who are very satisfied with alerts, 61 percent would recommend the bank, 40 percent wouldn't switch banks, and 42 percent would consider the bank for additional products. However, of the 3,663 overall online users, 32 percent would recommend their bank, while 28 percent would not switch banks, and 19 percent would consider the bank for additional products.
Asaf Buchner, lead analyst on the report, contends that there is such a strong correlation between satisfaction with online services and customer loyalty because bank customers who actively use the online channel tend to be more self-service oriented. "For routine banking activities they substitute going to the branch with the ATM and online channel. Online banking therefore becomes an increasingly important touch point and affects their overall experience with the bank, and their loyalty."
Fifty-seven percent of online customers whose primary bank is Wachovia are very satisfied with online banking, 13 percentage points higher than consumer satisfaction with major banks overall. Wachovia has been focused on fostering customer satisfaction online and offline for some time, according to Buchner. "In some key areas their online offering is particularly strong," he says. "For instance, their alert offering is very extensive--both in terms of types of alerts as well as the flexibility to choose a delivery channel (email, SMS, et cetera). They recently designed their Web site to be focused on customer activities rather than product groups. Because banks are typically structured by product groups, their Web sites sometimes reflect that, rendering them less user friendly."
Wachovia was trailed by credit unions (50 percent), Bank of America (45 percent), Washington Mutual (44 percent), Wells Fargo (40 percent), JP Morgan (40 percent), and regional banks (32 percent).
When examined based upon online bill view and pay, Wachovia secured the highest percentage of satisfied customers: 48 percent of online customers who primarily bank with Wachovia are very satisfied with bill view and pay, followed by Bank of America (42 percent), credit unions (38 percent), Wells Fargo (38 percent), JP Morgan (33 percent), Washington Mutual (32 percent), and regional banks (22 percent).
Overall, though, Buchner notes that the online experience is a work in progress. "To foster online satisfaction banks should listen to their customers and tailor their services accordingly," he says. "The voice of the customer comes in different forms--beyond surveys and focus groups, banks need to track their customers' interaction on their Web sites and through other channels. Based on customers' insights, banks should fine tune existing services and introduce new ones."
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