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.