Banks are taking a cue from Match.com's playbook.
In a move to help online prospects better find "the one" (meaning, the financial product that best suits their needs), Comerica (CMA) has embedded a questionnaire tool in its website.
The software, marketed as Account Planner, prompts retail prospects to answer questions about their transaction channel preferences, the banking features about which they care most, and rough estimates of their net worth. The tool aims to improve the research experience for those primed to open an account.
When visitors complete the quiz on Comerica.com, an algorithm serves up product recommendations. Then, consumers can ask to set up appointments via email or phone (average response time occurs within four hours), open certain accounts online or print out the product suggestions to bring into a physical banking center.
"It's a quick process and the information we get is good insight," says James Weber, chief marketing officer at the Dallas company. "Those who are predisposed to do research in a digital environment want to be enabled to do as much as they can."
The tool, which soft launched in the fall, is the latest example of a growing trend in which banks are trying to improve their websites. It's an effort to capture stronger sales leads through a lower-cost channel and enhancing the way people research products online. Some banks, like Bank of America (BAC), have embedded live web chat to enhance their online service.
About 2,000 customers use Account Planner every month, with roughly a quarter of them asking Comerica to contact them or clicking through to the firm's account opening process, says Weber.
The software powering the tool is Ignite Sales Recommendation Guides and Eligibility Analytics.
Come July, Comerica will offer Account Planner to its small business customers. Further down the road, Weber wants the tool to benefit current customers by quizzing them to see whether the product they are using is still the right fit for them as needs may have shifted over the years. Account Planner could get embedded into an online banner ad, too. "We take a measured approach," Weber says. What the bank would want to avoid is an influx of people taking the quiz without the personnel bandwidth to follow up with prospects.