Online banking struggles with customer queries

Research has found that bank websites are failing to answer even routine questions satisfactorily

Despite the millions invested in online banking systems, it may still be quicker for customers to phone bank call-centres to find out basic information.

Bank websites could only provide answers for half of routine questions asked online, with the majority relying on static FAQ pages, according to research by customer service software company Transversal.

Its research claimed 30 percent of bank websites struggled to answer more than two out of 10 product and service questions.

Nearly a third of banks don't offer the option of emailing questions, it found. For those that did, the average reply time was 30 hours for a response — eight hours longer than the average response time last year. And even then, only three out of 10 banks answered the question satisfactorily — fewer than last year — so customers would then still need to phone a contact centre for more information.

By contrast, the research said bank contact centre response times have improved "dramatically", with 60 percent of calls answered within three minutes and the shortest wait times being just a few seconds.

Transversal said customers are being pushed towards the telephone channel, irrespective of their preferences, and this reflects a failure by many banks to adopt a "cohesive online customer interaction strategy".