Online Banking Satisfaction 2011

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ForeSee Results released its 2011 Online Banking Satisfaction study recently. According to the firm, “satisfaction with online banking overall regains two points to 83 on a 100-point scale one year after dropping by the same amount.”

ForeSee breaks the results down by bank size, comparing the top 5, next 5, large banks, community banks, and credit unions. The comparison — by score component — is shown below: 

Component                  Top 5    Next 5    Large  Comm.   CUs

Products/services        82          81            85            83         84

Look and feel                 83          82           86            84         84

Navigation                     82          82           85            86         85

Website value               86           85           89            86         89

Privacy                           82           83           87           87         88

Site performance         83          85            88            86         87

Transactions                 84          84            89            88         88

I come to two conclusions based on this data: 1)  Different banks’ customers have different expectations of their bank’s websites, and 2) Satisfaction is influenced — heavily influenced — by subjective, and not just objective factors.

How did I arrive at this? From an admittedly subjective perspective:

There ain’t no way in tarnation that community banks’ and credit unions’ websites have better look and feel, navigation, privacy protection, site performance, or overall website value than the top 10 largest banks’ websites.

It’s not even a valid and fair comparison. A large percentage of community banks and credit unions use third party vendors for their online banking platform. So “look and feel”, “navigation,” and, to a certain extent, “site performance” aren’t even in the control of those institutions. 

It’s pretty clear what’s going on here. On one hand: Negative halo effect. “I hate my bank, therefore I hate it’s website.”

On another hand, there’s likely some demographics at play here. Credit unions are always crying that the average age of their members is high, so it’s very possible that credit union members that were surveyed by ForeSee are, on average, older than the customers of the top 10 banks that participated in the survey. Is it valid to compare the satisfaction rates of two (potentially) very different customer segments? I don’t think so.

If you work at a community bank or credit union and want to capitalize on the ForeSee findings, go for it. It makes for great marketing fodder. 

But please: Don’t delude yourself into thinking your website is better than the largest banks’ sites. 

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