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Web Excellence

Studies provide insight into bank best practices on the Web.

Three Recent studies from online solutions provider Keynote Systems (San Mateo, Calif.) rank the top bank Web sites on customer experience, site reliability and best practices. The results yield insights into what makes a financial institution's foray onto the Web successful. The reports include a customer experience ranking, the WebExcellence scorecard and a service-level ranking. A total of 29 banks were involved in the study, all selected by Keynote.

In the first study, 200 prospective customers visited bank sites and spent about an hour performing real tasks given to them by the researchers, and then rated them by how satisfied they were with the experience. Next, the WebExcellence scorecard examined the implementation of more than 290 best practices -- such as ease of use, security, quality and availability -- from the point of view of financial services experts. The final study, the service-level ranking, looked at responsiveness and reliability of Web sites, scoring bank sites on how quickly they respond to user commands and other factors such as average downtime.

There is some obvious consistency in terms of the banks that appear on the lists. According to Lance Jones, associate director of research at Keynote, the studies provide a look into the areas to which these different banks are dedicating their resources. "At certain banks, the senior executives really understand how important the online experience is overall for driving business," he explains.

Cleveland-based National City is a top-three bank in three of the rankings -- customer experience, reliability and responsiveness. Bank of America (Charlotte, N.C.) also fared well.

Overall, Jones says, bank sites are healthy when compared to those of other industries. "Banks are really trying to drive people online," he says. "The self-service model is being taken seriously so they want to make sure their sites are available, responsive and allow users to do as many things as possible."

Banks must tie together customer experience, best practices and reliability/responsiveness for an effective Web presence, Jones adds. "We want banks to understand that they can't go hard into one particular area and ignore the others," he says. * --Maria Bruno-Britz

Online Banking

Best of the Web

Customer Experience Rankings (Overall customer satisfaction/experience):

1. Wachovia (Charlotte, N.C.)

2. National City (Cleveland)

3. Bank of America (Charlotte, N.C.)

WebExcellence Scorecard (Overall online excellence/ implementation of best practices):

1. JPMorgan Chase (New York)

2. Citibank (New York)

3. Tie: Bank of America; Wells Fargo (San Francisco)

Service-Level Rankings - Reliability:

1. National City

2. Citibank

3. Wells Fargo

Service-Level Rankings - Responsiveness:

1. Wachovia

2. Chase

3. National City

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