It's a common conception that bank customers are faced with an arrangement of inconveniencies when it comes to trips to the bank: uncomfortable working hours, minutes wasted on waiting in line and the daunting task of schlepping a load of paperwork to have signed and approved by the notorious, impatient bank teller.
As such, when the online banking services era began at the beginning of the century, the expectation was that a large majority of bank-goers would resort to the online solution and that most bank customers would not travel to their branch to conduct simple tasks available to them digitally.
A decade later, however, those expectations have yet to be fully realized, and online banking – while it has seen increasing use – still has a ways to go in order to reach its expected potential. It's important that bankers understand how best to increase activity on their online sites, as online banking does indeed benefit the financial institutions as well as customers, and understand the factors necessary to idealize their customers' user experience.
Compliance issues and poor user experience on websites have prevented banks' customers from utilizing online banking services. Here are simple yet crucial ways to improve the user experience of your online banking services:
Communicate a positive message. According to Michelle Bayles, vice president of User Experience /User Research at Bank of New York Mellon – Pershing LLC, there are twelve reasons why people refrain from using online banking services. For instance, 13% of consumers do not trust the accuracy of the information and 28% prefer to deal with people face-to-face. These percentages can be lowered dramatically by exuding a positive message on the banking site, promoting what users what to hear. It might sound like a simple task, but it is far from it. Disclose fees and interest rates, but also be sure to supply positive, supportive and attractive call-to-actions. For instance, you can offer special promotions to customers who use the online banking service, or provide a positive notification (in the form of a "green light" or a "check") when an individual task has been completed successfully. This affirmation will leave users feeling valued and in good hands.
Keep it simple. Less really is more when it comes to the appearance and messaging of banking websites. Create rich and valuable content that speaks to the specific needs of the users and refrain from presenting overbearing or overwhelming information that confuses them. Remember, while sophisticated jargon on sites may impress some visitors, not everyone has an advanced degree and even those that do, sometimes appreciate having things explained to them in a simple and concise manner. According to Bayles, 31% of online banking users dodge sites because the terminology is too confusing. When dealing with the riskiness and sensitivity of the e-Banking sector, simple instructions are the key to successful financial usability.
Regarding website appearance, users tend to run from loud, large, and blinking images that greet them upon arriving at a site. Make certain the homepage is welcoming and professional, from graphic design, to color choices, to the layout. Optimizing your homepage to tell a story will provide all the details necessary for users to understand the required actions while eliciting trust in them. Display the key benefits of the service with a distinct headline, subheading, bullet points and a testimonial. Relay simple and minimal information so as to not scare the user away, which includes fields for sign up.
Provide an interactive experience. Sometimes, no matter how great a website looks, there will always be someone who is lost. Bayles states, however, that numerous banks "have attempted to address these issues by implementing interactive capabilities such as secure chat and email help." It is crucial to supply support, in addition to the online chat boxes that pop up, in order to create a more interactive experience for the users. Online tutorials or help files that take the user away from the user interface are time-consuming and can cause frustration, thus creating a huge drop-off rate and decrease in revenue. External services and technologies, such as live chat, interactive online guidance and video tutorials, can be implemented in order to create an easier, more efficient experience for an online banker.
With today's technologies and abundance of talented UI and UX designers, online banking issues should no longer impose on users. With the appropriate tools and knowledge, a banking site can go from being a daunting maze to a helpful, practical and productive source for user banking needs.
Stefanie Amini is marketing director and specialist in Customer Success at WalkMe, an interactive online guidance system. She is chief writer and editor of I Want It Now, a blog for Customer Service Experts. Follow her @StefWalkMe.