Online banks ignore email from customers

Online banking continues to grow, but problems with customer relationship management are ongoing Recent research suggests that many Internet banks are failing to respond to online requests from customers. However, failings in online integration and customer relationship management do not seem to be stopping the growth of online banking in the UK.

Online banking continues to grow, but problems with customer relationship management are ongoing

Recent research suggests that many Internet banks are failing to respond to online requests from customers. However, failings in online integration and customer relationship management do not seem to be stopping the growth of online banking in the UK.

Research carried out by enterprise systems firm Unisys and consultancy Global Future Forum (GFF) found that only 41 percent of all online banks had contact facilities on their Web sites. Of those with contact facilities, only 43 percent responded to emailed enquiries.

Unisys and GFF representatives posing as prospective customers contacted 400 banks worldwide. Researchers visited Web sites and, where applicable, requested product information via email or an online application form.

Although about 90 percent of banks across the globe claim to support online enquiries, only about half of those included in the survey responded to the test queries. Twenty-seven percent responded in less than one day, 6 percent took over a week, and 43 percent did not respond at all. GFF vice president Jim Moore said the banks must do better: "Banks are not concentrating their efforts on servicing customers to the best of their ability."

Despite such criticisms, online banking remains popular in the UK. Egg, which reported a loss of £153m in 2000, has managed to cut its losses from £38m in the first quarter 2001 to £25m in the past three months. The company expects to break even in its final quarter this year. Other banks, such as the Halifax's online bank Intelligent Finance and Abbey National's Internet bank Cahoot, said they are reaching their targets for subscriber numbers.