Online Banking Satisfaction 2011

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. 

4 thoughts on “Online Banking Satisfaction 2011

  1. Ron – something big they left out of the numbers you quoted above is the “impact” of each of those elements on satisfaction. Foresee calculates how much a given score contributes to the metric they effect (in this case, satisfaction.) Any one of those metrics may have a high or low score and still have very little impact on how satisfied someone is with the experience.

  2. CS: True. Good point. But at least give credit to ForeSee for breaking down satisfaction into contributing components. How many other customer satisfaction surveys do you see that simply ask “how satisfied are you” with no attempted explanation of the causal factors?

  3. totally. that’s why I roll my eyes at Net Promoter Score enthusiasts so much. also why I like Foresee so much. but they probably already know that…

  4. How do you define ‘better’? Some people genuinely prefer the basic off the shelf online presence that a small credit union or community bank may have. When they log in there are three options and that is all they want. They see the main banks as over-complicated and more confusing. If better means winning some uber trendy industry award and appealing to Gen X/Y/Z (are we at Z yet?), then they tend to be ‘worse’

    I think it is wrong to dismiss the impact that any financial institution should have on how useful and appropriate technology is to their customers just because they outsource it’s provision. Community banks and credit unions have an array of service providers to choose from for their online presence and should take ownership of ensuring that they deliver to usability, accessibility and performance targets.

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