Two new financial industry studies by Keynote Systems Inc. are spotlighting how Web site usability and performance go hand in hand to drive e-commerce competition.
The Keynote Customer Experience Rankings for the Online Banking Industry and the Keynote Service Level Rankings for the Online Banking Industry reveal how design changes have a significant effect on customer acquisition. Still, the same reports show that the best-designed sites are useless without good performance.
The studies, conducted earlier this year, looked at the top 10 U.S. banking sites and ranked them according to customer experience, customer acquisition impact and service levels. The banking sites studied included those of Bank of America, Bank One, Chase, Citibank, National City, SunTrust, U.S. Bank, Wachovia, Washington Mutual and Wells Fargo.
The combination of both studies provides a better "overall picture" of how a site stacks up against its competitors, said Lawrence Baxter, chief e-commerce officer at Wachovia Corp., in Charlotte, N.C.
"Keynote combines customer experience assessment with the service experience. They look at potential customer attractiveness and actual customer services. What it does is give a much more rounded picture on whats important and an understanding of your competitive position."
Wachovia ranked No. 1 in the overall Keynote CE Rankings, which took into account measurements of customer satisfaction, brand impact, customer acquisition impact and ease of exploring online banking. Wachovia scored highest in all four indices.
But in service-level rankings, Wachovia fell to third place, behind Wells Fargo Investments LLC and Washington Mutual Inc. Although Wachovia scored the highest for performance over a high-speed Internet connection, it fell out of the running on geographic uniformity and reliability and ranked No. 3 in load handling.
"It focuses us intensively on the criticality of reducing even planned outages. One thing that really impressed me: We were No. 3 on this item, and No. 1 had only 4 minutes of planned outage. We think well get down to that level as well," said Baxter.
The usability study, previously conducted by Vividence Corp., which Keynote acquired last year, underscores the banking industrys focus on competing online for customers. "The industry as a whole increased their scores, but they are all still generating a lot of frustration, so there is room for improvement," said Bonny Brown, director of research at Keynote, in San Mateo, Calif.