Web fields were turning into mine fields for Dollar Bank's customers, who were getting trapped by a simple navigation error that was cutting off their online banking sessions.

"People were being instructed to enter a city and ZIP code for one of the links," but many instead entered their city and state, says Pam Dancisin, a vice president of marketing for the $7 billion-asset bank. "It wasn't a big error, but it was a major inconvenience. And we were having a lot of issues like that."

As a fix, the Pittsburgh bank licensed navigation analysis software from the customer experience management company Tealeaf Technology Inc. The software resides alongside the bank's Web banking platform and tracks Web sessions by observing the flow of data and other information between the browser and other systems.

It spots variances in the normal rules-based flow of that information, which could be signs that people are unable to log in or getting "timed out" too quickly. The software can identify the server or program that's the source of the glitch.

For Web session glitches that have taken place after the user has logged in, the bank's contact center can identify the customer and proactively reach out to help complete the transaction that was interrupted on the Web.

The bank's customer service, sales, marketing and technology staff can access a dashboard to see how Web sessions are failing, and can also determine trends in navigation issues. The dashboard can also quickly alert programmers about other problems.

"We've had a number of issues that customers have been complaining about, such as a missing page or a navigation that didn't work," says Dancisin, such as the session "timing out" before the normal 15-minute timeout window. "We're now able to locate these problems and pass them off to a programmer to fix."

Tealeaf spokesman Geoff Galat says many of these navigation glitches are caused by the complexity of Web banking platforms, which actually combine a number of front- and back-end systems that manage tasks ranging from account opening, customer relationship management, information inquiries and payments to mobile banking and marketing.

At Zions Bancorp, which manages a network of affiliate banks, this complexity was deepened by an ongoing website relaunch at four of its affiliates. Zions uses the Tealeaf tool to monitor its various sites, as well as to troubleshoot problems that arise as consumers adjust to the new products and features that the $56 billion-asset institution is adding to its Web application.

"We used to rely on just a Web-based tool that monitored the Web and gave us page-view responses," says Matt Wilcox, who says the Salt Lake City institution is also planning to deploy the software for its mobile banking applications. "We'll now be able to view the flow and timing of what Web users are looking at."