In its new comparative report on internet banking and internet retail, ForeSee Results examined whether or not online banking, which has lagged behind e-retail in terms of finding an approach that captivates consumers, is getting any better as time goes by.
The new ACSI-based report examined the opinions of affluent consumers in the USA, and showed which online banking features and functions are connecting with consumers, which need more work put into them, and which have the biggest impact on cementing loyalty to the online banking channel. In a similar study done 18 months ago, privacy and security were cited as major concerns of those who banked online.
The report details customer ratings for key aspects of the online banking experience, and reports on which aspects matter most to consumers, including insights into how banks can increase adoption of online services by gearing up to specific features that influence consumer behaviour.
Although online banking had been lagging behind other kinds of internet services in terms of finding the right formula and approach that really worked with customers, banking services have really closed the gap in recent months. Credit unions now have a satisfaction score that equals e-retail, and commercial banks are close behind as well. Credit unions also out-perform commercial banks.
The survey found that the original issues of privacy and confidentiality have been well addressed by online banking institutions, but they do still remain the single largest hurdle to getting more people online.
Areas for improvement
Looking at the features and functions that contribute most to increasing brand loyalty and share of wallet, the survey found that improvements in three critical areas will increase consumer satisfaction, loyalty, and adoption rates. The areas that need the most work are: navigation; tasks and transactions; and bill-paying. Survey respondents said they found it difficult to get around bank sites, and find that the processes required to execute transactions are "not quite to their liking".
Obstacle to loyalty
It also become clear that the more a bank can get people to pay bills through its web site, the happier those people are - with the online banking service, with their bank in general, and in terms of their willingness to try other online services. There is, however, a significant obstacle: three-quarters (75%) of people who said they use online bill-paying from their own bank said they also use other online bill-payment services - and this undermines their bank's ability to keep satisfaction levels up and expand customer relationships properly.
Interestingly, the study also found that increasing the usage of online banking services does not decrease the demand for other channels. Banking is now very much a multi-channel enterprise.