|Web page design and organization key for effective bank sites|
Keynote Competitive Research announced the results of a new study examining the business and technical effectiveness of U.S. Retail Bank Marketing websites.
In its 2012 Bank Marketing study BB&T took first place for Overall Customer Experience, while in the Technical Quality portion of the study Wells Fargo took first for Responsiveness (speed), and U.S. Bank scored first 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 2,000 prospective online banking customers as they interacted with the websites of ten leading U.S. banks (200 people per site): Bank of America, BB&T, Chase, Citibank, Citizens Bank, PNC, Regions Bank, SunTrust, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo.
The online panelists were asked to evaluate the site's home page and think about how helpful the home page is for understanding what they are able to do on the site. Panelists were then asked to use the site to find a checking or savings account that might suit their needs. Next, panelists were asked to choose a specific checking or savings account and proceed through the process of opening that account on the site, going as far as possible without actually submitting the application. Finally, participants were asked to spend a few minutes to find all options available on the site to help resolve any problems or questions that may have arisen during the research and application process.
The study revealed that when tested by actual users BB&T's website (www.bbt.com) offers the strongest Overall Customer Experience, placing first in Brand Impact, Acquisition Impact and Customer Satisfaction and placing third in Online Adoption.
· Design and organization continues to be the most important aspect of the customer experience, predicting brand perceptions and customer acquisition.
· Offering interest and ease of finding account increased in importance in 2012.
· Customer support and site performance declined slightly in importance in 2012.
"Our 2012 study of U.S. banking websites revealed that when researching and opening a bank account online, good website design and organization and the ease with which panelists could find and open a deposit account were the leading predictors of a positive customer experience," says Chris Musto, general manager of the Keynote Competitive Research group. "BB&T outperformed many of its larger competitors in this study because of its clean design, strong functionality and intelligent approach to marketing its offerings."
For the "Technical Quality" portion of the study, Keynote performed 6,000 total measurements for each site, for a total of 60,000 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).
In addition to evaluating customer experience with 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. Each measured transaction began at the site's home page and then followed the process of searching for, selecting and applying for an account on the bank's site.
Based on the thousands of transactions monitored over the course of the study, U.S. Bank ranked first for Reliability, while Wells Fargo ranked first for Responsiveness (speed).
[This article was posted on July 30, 2012, on the website of ABA Banking Journal, www.ababj.com.]
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