Bank Experiences Break Down Across Channels

In a recent research report called Banks’ Cross-Channel Experience, 2008, we evaluated the cross-channel experiences of four large US banks: Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wachovia, and Wells Fargo. This analysis looked at our evaluation of cross-channel experiences across four industries. The results are particularly important for banks, since we’ve found that customer experience is highly correlated to loyalty in banking.

To analyze those experiences, we used Forrester’s Cross Channel Review (CCR) that evaluates interactions in five areas: Web, email, phone self-service, agent interactions, and transitions across those channels. While a company that passed all of the criteria in the CCR would earn a score of 57, the banks ended up with an average score of only -11. Bank of America led the group with a score of -2 while JPMorgan Chase ended up at the bottom with -27.

Here are some additional findings from the research:

  • Banks, as a group, scored better than department stores and MP3 manufacturers, but worse than airlines.
  • The three lowest scoring categories of banking experiences were channel choice, IVR navigation, and continuity across channels.
  • Here are the highest/lowest scores for the banks in each area:
    • Web site: Bank of America [+7] / JPMorgan Chase [-8]
    • IVR: Wachovia [+3] / JPMorgan Chase [-6]
    • Email: JPMorgan Chase [+1] / Wachovia [-4]
    • Agent interactions: Wells Fargo [+1] / JPMorgan Chase [-7]
    • Channel transitions: Wells Fargo [-2] / JPMorgan Chase [-7] 
  • While CCR evaluates 57 criteria, it turns out that all four banks received the lowest possible score on the following 7 criteria:
    • “Is essential content available where needed?” (Web Site)
    • “Is the task flow efficient?” (Web Site)
    • “Is text legible?” (Web Site)
    • “Does the firm properly set and meet expectations about hold time?” (Phone agent)
    • “Can customers get a confirmation of their phone conversation in another channel?” (Phone agent)
    • “Can the user complete her goals in all required channels?” (Channel transitions
    • “Can the user control how he interacts with the company?” (Channel transitions)
  • We also found a number of good practices, including:
    • Bank of America’s phone agents added value with banking recommendations
    • Wells Fargo’s IVR offered easy access to human assistance
    • JPMorgan Chase kept the user oriented on the Web
    • Bank of America helped prevent errors on the Web
    • Wachovia streamlined access to account information
    • Wells Fargo provided clear paths to other channels

The bottom line: Banks have lots of room to improve across channels.

Written by 

I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (, a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

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