Bank of America tops 23 banks as best in online experience

Design, organization continues to be most important predictor for a good online customer experience

Bank of America topped a list of 23 large or regional banks to be named the best in online customer experience best practices in consumer banking by Keynote Competitive Research.

Additionally, Keynote said BB&T ranked number one in a bank website marketing study that ranked the fastest and most reliable retail banking websites in the U.S. The study looked at the business and technical effectiveness of bank marketing websites.

In that study, U.S. Bank ranked first for site reliability while Wells Fargo ranked first for responsiveness (speed).

Keynote Competitive Research, part of Keynote Systems, a measurement and testing services provider based in San Mateo, Calif., measured the performance of the bank's online customer sites based on these criteria: functionality, privacy, security, quality, availability and ease of use.

For example, Keynote's "ease of use" trends include banks reworking error reporting, repositioning key account information and expanding the use of dynamic pages, all to reduce the clicks required to learn timely information and complete tasks. Digital customer service options are also expanding, with banks rolling out live chat within online banking and embracing Twitter.

Keynote's "Banker Scorecard," in its 13th year, placed Bank of America first in all four of its user experience categories. Citibank came in second, followed by Wells Fargo, which tied with BofA in the functionality category. The top three banks were followed by Chase, Capital One, BB&T, M&I Bank, E*Trade Bank, PNC Bank, and Citizens Bank rounding out the top 10.

Keynote scores banks on a scale of 1 to 100. BofA scored 87 points.

More than 300 subcategories of criteria describing customer-experience best practices were considered, according to Keynote.

Besides the four main categories, BofA also took first place for three tasks: Look up information, transact, and Learn and Plan. Citibank won for open account and Chase won in the "get service" category.

"Keynote's ongoing user testing and industry research has identified changes in how consumers prefer to learn about products and manage their accounts online," said Chris Musto, general manager of Keynote Competitive Research. "Through our Scorecard research, we see that a set of banks are responding to these consumer preferences by reconceiving information architecture, how consumers can interact with site content and how consumers can engage with customer service."

Keynote's banker scorecard tracks several financial services industry trends, including mobile banking, which continues to grow in number with 13 banks now offering SMS, mobile and at least two smartphone apps and a growing number of smartphone apps supporting remote check deposit.

More banks will also offer tablet-optimized apps as development focuses on the iPad, as well as Android and Kindle apps, Keynote stated.

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is

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Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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