Even the fanciest new e-banking widget won't be successful if it fails to meet customer expectations, says Christopher Cox, EVP of e-business services at Regions Financial Corp. ($130 billion in total assets). According to Cox, that was a top concern as the Birmingham, Ala.-based bank overhauled its online presence in 2010. "As we redesigned and implemented new capabilities, we wanted to ensure we maintained best-in-class website performance against our competitors," he recalls.
Having adopted Compuware's (Detroit) Gomez Real-User Monitoring platform several years earlier, Regions surveyed the technology landscape to determine whether a more appropriate tool was available, Cox relates. "The online and mobile spaces are evolving and changing faster than other banking channels, so we're constantly evaluating whether we're assessing ourselves in the right way," he explains.
Ultimately, Regions decided Gomez still was the right tool for the job. "Relative to other options, they had the best technical capabilities to run the relevant tests from locations scattered around our footprint," affirms Cox.
As a SaaS-enabled tool, the primary implementation functions involved supplying Gomez with the appropriate access to Regions' systems. In addition, Regions users in design, technology and senior management functions received training on interpreting and managing Gomez output, says Cox.
To date, any implementation challenges have involved organizational, rather than technological, hurdles, Cox reports. "The primary challenge," he says, "is ensuring we have the correct people interacting with Gomez representatives and the right level of access to the information the Gomez tool generates."
Additionally, enhancements to Gomez can cause hitches, Cox acknowledges. Most recently, an upgrade initially skewed some results. "This required conversations with Gomez about the net effects to ensure the results were still accurate," says Ken Pitchford, Regions' assistant VP and director of application development for alternate delivery channels.
Nevertheless, the Gomez partnership contributes significantly to keeping Regions at the top of its game, Cox and Pitchford emphasize. "They're the independent judge that measures whether our internal development and testing efforts result in actual improvements to end users," Cox says. Adds Pitchford, "And beyond showing where we may need to tweak code or dedicate resources, the traffic data helps us with other types of planning, such as when to schedule our maintenance outages to least impact our customers."
Since the late 2010 launch of the new website, regions.com, which includes new offerings as well as functionality improvements, Gomez has assisted Regions with performing at or near the top of peer rankings, according to Cox. "And we've achieved outstanding performance rankings during a period of double-digit user growth," he relates.
Moving forward, Regions expects that it will require even more from the Gomez platform. "As we introduce more web and mobile capabilities, ... we know we'll have to measure performance across more channels as our customers increasingly adopt them," says Cox.
Case Study Snapshot
Institution: Regions Financial Corp. (Birmingham, Ala.).
Assets: $130 billion.
Business Challenge: Ensure real-world performance of customer-facing website matches internal testing results.
Solution: Detroit-based Compuware's Gomez Real-User Monitoring end user experience testing solution.