ANN ARBOR, Mich. (5/20/11)--Customer satisfaction with online banking has increased its lead over customer satisfaction with the overall banking experience, with all types of financial institutions seeing a rise in satisfaction, says the U.S. 2011 ForeSee Results Online Banking Study. Credit unions have gained two points since 2010 in member satisfaction with their online banking service for a total of 86 points--higher than the online banking industry's overall total of 83 on a 100-point scale, according to the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based research firm, ForeSee Results. Nearly every category of banks and credit unions improved since last year's study, with large banks improving the most. Large banks--the ones with the big bucks to spend on online banking channels and who are moving consumers to channels that are less expensive to operate--saw a gain of five points--to 87 from 82. Community banks gained three points to 85. Top banks in two categories received 83, and 82 points. While credit unions' showing continues to be strong, the results indicate that they are facing more challenges in providing online banking services. When asked which banking channel they were most satisfied with, 55% of member/customers surveyed selected the online channel, 28% chose the branch, 13% the ATM, and 2% call center and mobile banking. "Brick-and-mortar banks will never go away, but the huge lead online banking has over other channels when it comes to satisfaction emphasizes the importance to a bank's relationship with its customers," said Larry Freed, president/CEO of ForeSee Results and author of the report. "The roadmap for improving satisfaction will vary from bank to bank, but the only way to manage and improve the customer experience is to measure it." The study measured seven elements of satisfaction with online banking, including navigation, ease of executing online transactions, privacy, the look and feel of the website, selection of bank products and services and the information available about them, website value, and site performance. Credit unions gave the highest priority for improvements to self-directed transactions and establishing the value of the website--both of which have high impact on satisfaction level, said the report. Their lowest priorities were in navigation and products and services, areas of low impact on satisfaction level, the report added. Researchers found that when member/customers are highly satisfied with online banking, they are:
* 41% more likely to continue using online banking services; * 52% more likely to continue using the website instead of costlier channels such as branches and call centers; * 50% more likely to purchase additional services; * 63% more likely to recommend the financial institution; * 63% more likely to trust their banking institution overall; and * 56% more satisfied with their institution overall, regardless of channel.