Customer satisfaction with Internet banking in the US has slipped over the last year but the channel is still more highly rated than offline alternatives, according to two separate reports.
On a scale of one to 100, nearly 3000 respondents to a survey from ForeSee Results and Forbes rate online banking services at 81, down two points on 2009. However, with 80 points considered the threshold for excellence the rating is still impressively high and better than the 75 points garnered for offline banking.
The study also reveals that smaller banks and credit unions have higher online customer satisfaction. In fact, the five largest banks in the country - Bank of America, Citibank, Chase, PNC, and Wells Fargo - scored the lowest in the study.
Larry Freed, CEO, ForeSee Results, says: "When it comes to customer satisfaction, big banks, with relatively unlimited resources, are not performing as well as smaller institutions with fewer resources. While the big companies try to outdo each other with lots of flashy bells and whistles, the small banks have had to keep their focus on satisfying the customer because that's the only way they can compete. And as the data shows, it's paid off."
The research also highlights the value of ensuring online customers are satisfied. Happy Web customers are 56% more likely to purchase additional products and services and 65% more likely to increase online bill payment.
They are also 64% more likely to use the Web site as a primary channel, 76% more likely to recommend the bank and 63% more likely to recommend its online service. Over half are more satisfied with their bank overall and 41% more likely to continue to use its services than unsatisfied customers.
Separate research from comScore, which polled more than 2500 Internet users, also shows a slight decline in customer satisfaction with Web sites at all the top five banks.
The poll reveals growing take-up of online bill payment, used by 64% of respondents, up 18% points on 2009. Meanwhile, the use of automatic or recurring bill payment features rose 10 points to 52%.
With increasing environmental awareness and financial incentives, 58% of respondents are now enrolled in paperless statements, up five points from last year. Of those with paperless accounts, 69% are enrolled for their checking/saving but penetration rates are much lower for other financial products such as credit cards (47%), insurance (28%) and brokerage (16%).
Meanwhile, only 30% of online bankers expressed interest in using PFM sites, with just 10% aware of specific providers and less than four per cent currently using them.