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The telephone is back in full swing and customers now request useful services that really meet their expectancies

April 25, 2001
User-friendly Web sites

According to a recent survey conducted by Jupiter Media Metrix, CEOs from American financial services companies are four times more interested in offering their customers new services such as wireless products than they are in making their existing Web sites more user-friendly…


According to James Van Dyke, Jupiter analyst, online financial services provider are more interested in launching new High-Tech products than they are in improving the usability of their Web sites (see to that matter my M-commerce article in the last issue).

Customer service

And yet, according to the same study by Jupiter Media Metrix, 52% of Internet users rate customer service as the most important criteria when selecting a financial services provider.

Only 7% of consumers rate discounted offers as being an important criterion when selecting a financial provider.


Satisfaction criteria

The last quarterly study by JF Powers evaluated the satisfaction criteria in the online brokerage sector and gave the same proportions, even though it somehow minimised the customer service criterion.

- Customer service: 26%.

Information and customer education: 19%.

Integrity and broker reputation: 19%.

Quality of the processing: 17%.

Portfolio management: 12%.

Fees and commissions: 7%.

Telephonoe over Internet

And yet, another survey conducted by Harris Interactive confirms this tendency as it reveals that American Internet users who use online brokerage services favoured the telephone over the Internet to purchase investment products during the last quarter of 2000.
This study, that polled a sample of 2.900 users with a brokerage account, proves that the telephone has become extremely used in the following cases (Please treat these figures carefully, as they only correspond to products that were actually purchased by the respondents):

- Corporate bonds: Telephone 71% - Online 11%.

IPO (Initial Public Offerings): Telephone 55% - Online 27%.

US treasury and municipal bonds: Telephone 43% - Online 9%.

Stock options: Telephone 41% - Online 34%.

Money market accounts: Telephone 41% - Online 21%.

Mutual funds: Telephone 41% - Online 18%

Only with stocks did we get the same proportion between the telephone and the online channel, as they got 40% each.
These figures, that come from different surveys match each other, and I think they represent a warning shot for all eFinance Web sites. These sites should pay attention to what visitors and clients really expect.

Sources : Harris Interactive - Jupiter Media Metrix



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