For years, banks based their strategies on weekly reports about the rates of CDs, checking accounts, consumer loans, and other financial products in their geographic areas. Now with new Web metrics, financial institutions are moving beyond just rate-watching products. They are also benchmarking their Websites against the competition’s.
As more consumer banking is moving online, banks are benchmarking their customers’ experience online to gauge things such as access to the bank’s Website via a variety of browsers and the average response time and availability of the Website on a mobile device.
How important is it to know that you are cyber-competitive as a bank? Very important. According to a Fiserv survey conducted in 2010, four out of five US households with Internet access (72.5 million) banked online. That figure grew by 9 percent in 2011. And a follow-up Fiserv survey this year shows that 40 percent of US households with Internet access own a tablet or expect to own one by the middle of this year, and 45 percent of those households say they would like to use their tablets for online banking.
These users are doing more than checking account balances. They are paying bills, ordering credit cards, and applying for loans online. All of this makes it imperative for banks to offer good online performance when compared with the competition.
“The truth is, management never paid that much attention to Website performance in the days when we simply were measuring ourselves against ourselves,” said one bank marketing manager. “Now the entire world knows how you are doing compared to others, because of widely published weekly statistics.”
The importance of good Website performance and easy mobile access has grabbed the attention of both mahogany row and the boardroom, making corporate priorities of these features. At the same time, banks are turning their attention to specific analytics gleaned from attracting more users to their sites. One metric, for instance, is the abandon rate, which tracks whether a customer leaves the Website before a transaction is closed (whether the customer is being offered a new product or the chance to sign up for a newsletter).
Then there is use. If a bank sells a customer a Visa card, does the customer use it -- or does the card sit in the customer’s wallet and begin to appear in the bank’s portfolio as a dormant account? These are more difficult behavior patterns to see and diagnose, but they are instrumental in to determining how well consumers are utilizing the bank’s portfolio of products.
Ultimately, information from new and emerging online bank metrics could lead to better service for consumers, and that’s an exciting possibility.
— Mary E. Shacklett, President, Transworld Data