Marketing Executive Nic Weschenfelder looks at some common mistakes from finance sites, and how they can improve the customer experience. 

It seems it was only a few years ago that folks had to pull out their cheque books and several forms of ID to withdraw money, set up new accounts or transfer money.

Of course, all of these transactions were usually done with the help of a friendly representative, but today these representatives are required less and less thanks to online technology.

So has the banking experience become less personalized? No. Since the innovation of online/mobile banking customers are actually getting an increasingly personalized customer experience where consumers can carry out transactions within a few clicks or taps.

Customers are becoming less bothered about the convenience that a local branch can offer and more interested in the ease and experience of online banking. So when it comes to online banking what are the main mistakes that are pushing existing and potential customers out the door.

Here’s five common mistakes banks are making when it comes to customer experience…


1. Unforgiving Web Forms

Online application forms have never been fun to fill out, so making this process slick is a big must, especially when it comes to grabbing new customers.

Initially many applications start out smoothly, only for interested users to be stopped in their tracks by an unforgiving application process.

Whether it’s a form that requires hard paper documents, asks confusing questions or requires a password with every symbol under the sun, users can be easily annoyed. And from my understanding, annoyed users don’t complete forms.

To reduce form abandonment, forms can be designed to simplify the process where possible, explain any confusing fields, and provide shortcuts to completion where possible.


2. Disjointed Multichannel Experience

Jason Conrad (VP of ForSee’s Banking business) noted that “consumers who stay in one channel are actually less satisfied than those who use multiple channels”.

Consumers like to choose the channel that they feel is most convenient to them at that particular time, meaning that they are likely to use both at some point in their customer journey.

So if consumers are bouncing around different channels, it’s vital to offer an end to end seamless experience.

For example if an multichannel consumer who is in the market for a credit card solution, starts their application online but decides to contact customer service or a local branch, they should not have to start the process over again.

Keeping pace with the consumer’s ever changing needs by responding in real-time no matter what channel use will help banks provide an increasingly personalized and seamless experience across all channels.


3. Confusing Jargon

Banking is naturally an industry full of jargon, often causing confusion and making consumers feel hesitant or uncomfortable as a result.

In a space where clarity and convenience wins consumers, the copy or (lack of copy) is often letting banks down, and it’s something that can cause consumers to abandon their forms and potentially look elsewhere.

Indeed, a recent report found that 80% of UK citizens don’t understand the jargon their bank use.

There are certain fields and terms in banking that can trip users up, so it pays to identify these fields through testing and analytics. The areas where you find users stalling on a form or are abandoning at a particular stage is likely to be a problem.

This is where microcopy can come in handy. Microcopy is the small pieces of copy used around the site which consist of just a few words or perhaps a sentence or two.

Using microcopy to explain those complicated financial terms in a more creative and informative way will help reassure those confused users who otherwise might have abandoned.

In a similar vein, Confused.com shows images which help users to identify the types of lock. It’s a simple way to avoid a potential cause of form abandonment.


4. Leaving Users in the Wilderness

Some banks are failing to embrace immediate/real-time customer service and it’s damaging their relationship with both existing and potential customers. As the complexity of a transaction or form increases, so to does the need for human interaction, yet this is something banks continue to ignore. Dohhhh.

A user who is browsing a bank’s website, reading an email, looking through an online statement or likes a social media page is clearly showing interest. So including a function such as live chat to offer a bit of help or advice can add value to the customer experience.

Live Chat services are particularly useful when consumers are going through an application process online.

Offering users who experience issues in the middle of their application assistance via live chat means banks can ensure the user gets the help they need to successfully complete their form.

With the abandonment rate currently at 81.8% in the finance industry, Live Chat is a great way to offer help at the point where it’s required and reduce this number.


5. Not Using Clear On-Site Messages

Many banks opt not to use on-site overlays for the fear that they are annoying, irrelevant and disrupt the customer journey.

Overlays can disrupt the user experience when used badly, but they can be very effective in the right context.

Used well, overlays influence or help customers and, in the case of online banking, the right message at the right time can help them continue the application.

By tracking visitors’ online behaviours and deliver personalized messages to influence their experience and highlight particular benefits, it’s a great way of making the customer journey more personalized and more convenient.

It might just be the helping hand they need when making that key decision.