More than a quarter of US financial insitutions do not respond to all customer enquiries submitted online, according to a survey by research and consulting firm, The Customer Respect Group.
According to the survey, some 13% of firms surveyed did not respond to any online inquiries at all, while 15% only responded to half the amount submitted. Overall, 72% responded to all inquiries.
The Online Customer Respect Study assigns a rating to each company on a scale of 0 to 10 - with 10 being the highest achievable score - for factors such as simplicity, responsiveness, privacy and transparency. The Bank of America's online services scored the highest in the survey, with 8.3, followed by Wachovia (7.7), Hibernia Corporation (7.6) and Wells Fargo (7.6).
Overall, financial services companies achieved a poor average of 4.9 for responsiveness, which was the lowest scored area. The best score was for simplicity of use.
Furthermore, although 99% of sector firms have privacy policies on their sites explaining how customers' personal data is being used, 59% of these share data with business partners without permission.
Roger Fairchild, president of The Customer Respect Group, says too many firms still haven't taken steps in areas such as privacy and responsiveness, which are crucial to providing a satisfactory customer experience.
"Those firms that don't consider the business impact of providing a poor Web experience are taking unnecessary, serious risks," says Fairchild.