Ally receives the top ranking in a survey of national, regional and online banks, investment firms, and money management services, according to a new report from web researchers Change Sciences Group.
The report looks at how well financial services firms communicate about the value of their services online. The New York-based company evaluated 22 sites. ING Direct and Capital One join Ally at the top of the results.
"Ally's top score is a wake-up call to traditional financial services online," says Pamela Pavliscak, a Change Sciences partner. "With trust at an all-time low, consumers are looking to financial services Web sites to clearly demonstrate the value they provide. They want to know quickly and clearly exactly what it will be like to be a customer of the firm."
The top banks have surpassed traditional top performers like Bank of America and E*Trade by maintaining a focus on helping customers get control of their personal finances, she adds. "Online customer experience for financial services has been taken to a new level by these firms' laser focus on user experience design," according to the report.
The firm used Kantuit, an interactive experience modeling platform that produces insights about user experience best practices, to evaluate the sites.
The study reveals that 14% of sites fail to support at least one user goal and its requirements, while 27% fail to answer at least one question that users have. About 77% lack some content that some users consider persuasive, while 45% have content problems that make information difficult to understand for some users.
About 23% have page layout problems that make information hard to find for a significant number of users, while 9% lack design elements that help users stay focused and on track.
Eighteen percent have instances of visual design that are perceived by many users to be less than professional, and 14% have visual design elements that are perceived as incongruous or inconsistent. About 36% have visual design elements that are perceived as less than welcoming. Seventy-seven percent lack some content that many users consider persuasive, and 50% fail to communicate why prospects should choose to start a relationship with the company.
Roughly half fail to give prospects an idea of what it is like to be a customer, while 32% fail to communicate special offers, appealing rates and cost savings in a prominent location.
Other areas of site coverage in the report include the role of online demos, chat and social networking. Other sites included in the research are: Ameriprise, BB&T, Chase, Citibank, Merrill Lynch, Mint, Nationwide, PNC, SunTrust, Thrive, US Bank, Washington Mutual and Wells Fargo.