Author: Marie Sheehan
In 2014 we ran multiple studies* into the banking industry in Ireland and the UK, measuring the digital sales and digital marketing effectiveness of savings account, mortgages, current account and credit card providers.
Mortgage providers are the least effective online
Overall, mortgage providers are the least effective online of the financial services industries examined. This is mainly driven by consumers’ inability to complete a mortgage application online and the unclear information given about that process; for example, poor explanations of how the offline application process works, as well as inadequate details of products.
Conversely, current account providers score highest for digital effectiveness; findings show that this is because they are pretty good at conveying their value proposition online, explaining to consumers why they should choose their brand and for including product comparison capabilities online.
Interestingly no one bank performs well at everything
Examining how banks perform at an aggregate level, HSBC, Lloyds and Nationwide come out on top. However if you take into account that we consider 55% the minimum score a company needs to achieve in order to meet the basic needs of a customer, there is lots of room for digital improvement in the banking industry.
Financial services brands need to help consumers to make decisions
Plotting the performance of each of the product providers against the stages of the online customer journey reveals that there is an industry pain at the “facilitating decisions” stage.
Credit card providers in particular are weak at explaining why consumers should chose them, where they can get help support and ultimately helping them to make the final purchasing decision.
When looking online for mortgages consumers are struggling to find and compare options. In general they don’t understand what they are being shown and find it all very confusing.
However there are exceptions. RBS for example performs better than competitors here because they use needs based language and facilitate easy comparison of multiple mortgage options.
Bank of America
Looking at banks in the US, Bank of America allows consumers to filter by a variety of different types of mortgage requirements and then shows key options side by side with more filters. This really enables customer to drill down to the options that suit their needs.
For current accounts Chase performs well at reassuring consumers that all their checking accounts come with key features such as online banking. The site also has clever filtering options to help customers to find the current account right for them.
We know from our research that enabling customers to save/print/forward their options for revisiting or checking later helps to facilitate decision making.
HSBC has a sharing and printing facility. This is a simple piece of technology that really helps consumers to make a considered decision.
We know that 20% of customers who experience a problem on website will leave immediately. 30% would look for FAQ or help. AIB scores high here by providing multiple contact options such as live chat and a call me back feature.
Nationwide conveys their value proposition really well by explaining to customer why they should choose them.
Nationwide continues its drip feed of value information by including external validation and award information.
Measuring how easy banks make it for consumers at every step of the online journey
The Global Reviews Digital Sales Effectiveness* (DSE) programme focuses on the Consider and Act stages of the online purchase journey. As part of this research we asked ‘in market’ consumers to go through the online pathway to purchase and complete a number of tasks. We then overlay these results with findings from our expert audit at every step. In total 500 data points show how effective a website is at each point of the journey.
As part of the DSE programme we score each bank at each of the six stages from how they perform at creating a great first impression and building trust, right through to submitting the application form.
If you would like to know more, please contact us.
Research Calendar 2015
Credit Cards: January and July
Savings: February and August
Mortgages: April and October
Current Accounts: April and October
Personal Loans: April
International Best Practice
To find out more about what best practice looks like and those who are achieving it view our webinar recorded on January 29th: Ireland & UK Digital Banking in 2014 – A Review of the Year.
*In 2014 we ran the following programmes of study into the Banking Industry in Ireland and the UK:
Digital Sales Effectiveness (DSE): This study measures how effective Banks are at converting customers online. We ran the DSE programme twice in 2014 for Credit Cards (January & July), Mortgages (March & September) and Current Accounts (March & September); and once for Savings (August).
Digital Marketing Effectiveness (DME): This study measures how effective Banks are at attracting customers online. We ran the DME programme once in 2014 for Credit Cards (August) and twice for Current Accounts (January & July)