US banks are losing out by ignoring online customer inquiries

US banks are losing out by ignoring online customer inquiries

Leading US financial institutions are not using their call centres or Internet channels fully when interacting with customers. These are the findings of an independent research study co-sponsored by Onyx Software and Microsoft.

The research updates the Celent 'Missed Revenue Opportunities' study co-sponsored by Onyx Software and Microsoft in 2000. This measured the responsiveness of financial institutions to Web-based queries. This year, the scope was expanded to include information on call centres.

The study was conducted by independent consulting firm Celent Communications. Results indicate that only 11 per cent of the 150 firms researched followed up initial contact with prospects inquiring about financial products and services.

And only 21 per cent of the firms providing online responses to Web-based inquiries were categorised as good or acceptable. In the call centres, only 31 per cent of the firms delivered informative and helpful responses.

Celent staff posed as highly-qualified individuals and small business owners who needed a variety of financial products and services. They approached the leading banking, brokerage, mutual fund, insurance and Internet-only e-financial service firms in the US.

Kevin Hoffberg, chief knowledge officer and director of vertical marketing, Onyx Software, says that it is tempting to hold-off investing in CRM initiatives as a short-term, cost-containment move. But he adds: "The results of this study underscore the need for these firms to take immediate steps to improve response, capitalise on opportunities to get and keep profitable customers, and neutralise competitive threats."

Octavio Marenzi, president, Celent Communications, says: "The level of disinterest we uncovered in the study is alarming, especially given the current economic climate and the fact that contact was initiated by high net worth individuals and profitable small business owners, which most firms should consider a highly-desirable customer/prospect segment."

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