May 10, 2010

Forrester gives poor marks to Canadian bank websites

NEW YORK--US-based consultancy Forrester Research has published a ranking of the six top Canadian bank Websites which gives says they need to do more on customer service.

For its report “Web Site User Experience 2010: Canadian Banks”, Forrester evaluated the user experience at the public-facing Websites of the six largest Canadian banks: BMO Bank of Montreal, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, RBC Royal Bank of Canada, Scotiabank, and TD Canada Trust.

“Overall scores were disappointing,’ the Forrester report says. “No site received a passing grade. RBC came out on top with a score of 16, standing out with a significantly higher score than any of its competitors.”

CIBC came second with a score of 5, followed by BMO with a score of 2. The three remaining banks’ scores were all in negative territory.

Usability flaws uncovered by Forrester included misplaced content and functionality, hidden privacy and security policies, confusing menus, illegible text, and poor use of space.

Criticizing their websites’ inefficient task flows, Forrester says that all six banks failed to move would-be customers through the account selection and application process effectively.

“To improve the online customer experience, Canadian banks need to prioritize fixing problems with known solutions, focus on scenario design, and differentiate the brand experience,” the report says.

Scenario design helps firms to avoid the pitfalls that come from designing websites based on a product-centric view of the world and instead build websites based on a customer-centric view, Forrester says. “For example, focusing on the user’s need to fully understand account fees lead banks to feature key content such as monthly charges, number of included transactions, and additional transaction fees in prominent-displayed account comparison tables,” it says.



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