Study: Consumers Give High Scores to Online Financial Sites

Consumers are giving online banks a high rating for customer satisfaction despite concerns about the stability of financial institutions, according to a study released this week by href=”http://www.foreseeresults.com” target=”_new”>ForeSee Results and Forbes.com.

What’s more, the study found that highly satisfied customers are more likely to purchase additional services and open more accounts.

“We’re finding that if users are more engaged, and doing more with the financial institution, they are more satisfied and more likely to recommend the product to others,” said Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee Results.

On a scale of 0 to 100 with 100 points representing the top score, online banks received a score of 83, up from 82 last year. Credit card Web sites were rated 80, up from 73 last year; investment Web sites received 78 points, up from 74. Few service industry groups surpass 80, according to Foresee.

Consumers identified three areas for improvement: Banks and credit unions could reduce page load speeds and eliminate error messages; investment Web sites could advance features such as portfolio management, and credit card Web sites could improve transaction processes and bill payment features.

While consumers said they are satisfied with financial services Web sites, one-third said they are concerned with the stability of their financial institution. Despite these concerns, only 20 percent of online banking customers and 33 percent of online investors said they recall receiving assurances from their institutions on the financial stability.

Mobile adoption of financial applications remains relatively low. Among online investors with mobile phones, 27 percent use them to access investment Web sites, and 13 percent of online banking customers access their accounts via mobile. Mobile users, however, appear more satisfied according to the study.

Customer satisfaction entails many attributes. Listed are a number of ways banks can improve customer satisfaction by increasing services online.

  • Revenue generation and share of wallet: Satisfied customers are 47 percent more likely to purchase additional products and services and 36 percent more likely to increase online bill payment. Over half of customers pay bills elsewhere, and banks can offer more comprehensive services to customers for managing finances and consolidating bill payments.
  • Cost savings and efficiencies: Customers are 46 percent more likely to use the Web site as a primary channel when they are satisfied with the bank. The online channel is less expensive to a bank than customer service call centers or branches. Fewer highly satisfied customers reported visiting a branch within the last 90 days than dissatisfied customers.
  • Positive word of mouth: Satisfied online banking and credit union customers are 71 percent more likely to recommend their bank, and 80 percent more likely to recommend their bank’s Web site.
  • Customer retention: Customers are 60 percent more satisfied with their bank overall and 41 percent more likely to continue to use their bank’s services when highly satisfied.
  • Relationship-building and loyalty: More than half of all respondents pay bills online somewhere other than their bank’s Web site. Highly satisfied respondents are 36 percent more likely to increase their use of the bill payment function on their bank’s Web site.
  • The survey was conducted among 2,500 respondents in March including subscribers to Forbes.com and online panelists from FGI Research and were financial service customers who use online services. Data were analyzed using online methodology of the University of Michigan’s American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), which measures overall customer satisfaction in 10 economic sectors and 43 industries. Scores are tallied on a 0 to 100 point basis.

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