UK banks have again been heavily criticised over their online customer service – this time by a new study that shows their websites fail to provide answers to routine customer queries.

The research, by eService provider Transversal, found that customers are better off phoning banks’ call centres to find out about products and services.

Its conclusions don’t make great reading…

  • On average, bank sites could only answer 50% of “routine questions” – the majority rely on static and complex FAQ pages. Still, that’s better than the company’s findings in 2006, when the average was 30%.

  • 30% struggled to answer more than 2 out of 10 queries about products and services.

  • 30% didn’t offer the opportunity to send questions by email.

  • 30% responded to emails correctly, down from 40% last year.

  • For those offering email, the average reply time was 30 hours – up from 22 hours last year.

  • 60% had a customer search function, compared to 40% in 2005.

  • 80% had FAQ pages for customers, compared to half in 2005.

  • Contact centre response times have improved significantly, with 60% of calls being answered within 3 minutes.

Transversal CEO Davin Yap said:

“While previously online customers have had to cope with a lack of information we’re now seeing more content – but this makes finding the right answer as difficult as looking for a needle in a haystack.

“With the advent of Web 2.0 providing the ability to deliver a personalised service and improved interaction, banks need to wake up to the changing needs of their customers – or suffer the consequences as they shift accounts.”

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