|Most effective credit card issuer websites|
In Keynote Competitive Research’s latest study examining the business and technical effectiveness of U.S. credit card websites, U.S. Bank took first place for Overall Customer Experience, while in the Technical Quality portion of the study Citi came in first for Responsiveness (speed) and U.S. Bank took first place for reliability.
The rankings are based on responses from real users, who are observed as they accomplish tasks on each of the sites studied, as well as real data collected through Keynote website monitoring to assess the technical quality of the sites. For each study, Keynote recognizes the companies with the overall top ranking, as well as those exhibiting excellence in specific categories.
For the ‘Customer Experience’ portion of the study, Keynote observed and conducted online interviews with 1,815 online adults as they interacted with the websites of eight U.S. credit card issuers: American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi, Discover, PNC, and U.S. Bank.
For the ‘Technical Quality’ portion of the study, Keynote performed 6,000 total measurements for each site, for a total of 48,000 total measurements, from 12 locations in the United States. The data was collected every day over a one-month period during the websites’ peak period (8 a.m. to midnight EST, Monday-Sunday). Keynote measured a typical transaction of starting at the site’s home page, navigating to the List/Details page, then proceeding through the process of applying for a new credit card.
“Based on tens of thousands of measured transactions that Keynote performed for this study, Citi distinguished itself among credit card issuer sites for the speed of its download times (responsiveness), while U.S. Bank was best among its peers for reliability,” says Ben Rushlo, director of performance management at Keynote.
For the Customer Experience component of the study, Keynote also sent 225 U.S. resident internet users to each of the eight credit card websites. All panelists had no prior relationship with the eight credit card issuers and were considered, “new to issuer.” The online panelists were first asked to spend a few minutes on the credit card issuer’s home page and assess how helpful it is in developing an understanding of the site’s unique offerings and what they will be able to accomplish there. Next, participants were asked to use the site to find a credit card that meets their needs (for personal, not business, use) and proceed through the process of applying for the card, going as far as possible without submitting the final application, and then ascertain approximately how long it would take to receive their new credit card if they were to complete the application. Finally, the panelists were asked to explore the online services available on the site for accessing and managing their credit card account (e.g., viewing account balance, paying credit card bill, etc.), and then take some time to learn about other online account features, benefits and policies.
The study revealed that when tested by actual users, U.S. Bank offers the strongest Overall Customer Experience. To achieve the top Overall Customer Experience ranking, U.S. Bank placed first in two of the four indices—Customer Satisfaction and Online Adoption—that the Overall Customer Experience Index is comprised of.
Other key findings include:
• Credit Card Satisfaction and Site Organization are the most important business drivers, impacting users’ brand perceptions and likelihood to get a card in the future.
• Ease of Exploring Online Services, Security Satisfaction, Ease of Applying Online, Visual Appeal, Online Services Satisfaction, and Site Performance are also key drivers of brand, acquisition, and online adoption.
• PNC, U.S. Bank, American Express, Discover, and Capital One are the top sites for Brand.
• PNC, U.S. Bank, Discover, Chase, and Capital One are the top sites for Acquisition and Customer Satisfaction.
“Through mathematical analysis Keynote has identified and detailed eight success drivers—tangible aspects of the overall site experience that predict brand lift, acquisition, and online adoption—that issuers should focus on to maximize the return on their online investment,” says Christopher Musto, general manager of the Keynote Competitive Research group. “For example, Keynote found ten metrics, ranging from the topics on the homepage to overall site organization, combine to describe the driver Site Organization and Design, a leading predictor of Brand Impact.”
In addition to evaluating customer experience with its panel of actual users, the Keynote study also examined two broad aspects of technical quality: responsiveness and reliability. Responsiveness comprises: high speed response, DSL (midband) response, response time consistency, geographic uniformity, and load handling, while reliability is comprised of availability and outages.
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