Three Reasons Why You Need to Measure the Mobile Experience Right Now

ForeSee Blogger Byron Biggins

by Byron Biggins

When I joined the mobile team at ForeSee, I was surprised at how many clients used ForeSee to measure and improve the web customer experience on desktop but were not yet measuring the mobile experience. Even though they were getting a ton of value from measuring the web experience, they balked at a measuring the mobile experience because so few transactions were occurring in their mobile channel.

Fair enough. Do I understand the logic? Yes. Do I agree? Here I must give a respectful but emphatic NO!  Let me explain why.

1. The world is moving toward mobile. Every client we measure is seeing an exponential growth in their mobile traffic. It now accounts for 30, 40 or even 50% of digital traffic for many companies. An expanding group of those mobile customers are mobile only or prefer mobile (comScore says 6% of US Internet population is mobile only). This is especially true of the younger generation, who will be your customers in the future if they aren’t already.

2. It’s not enough to know what mobile users are doing, you must understand their needs and expectations for your mobile channel. Companies may use behavioral data to understand what customers are doing on their mobile sites or in their mobile apps. However, they don’t know if mobile users are satisfied by the mobile experience.

Also, mobile offers a different experience from web, even when the content is the same. Mobile users are tapping, swiping and pinching. They could be holding their device in portrait or landscape. They could be on the couch, in a doctor’s waiting room or in your store.  They have the option of interacting through the mobile site or downloading an app (sometimes very different experiences.

A client that runs a state lottery believed most mobile users would be “on the go,” so they only offered limited information and functionality. But once they started measuring, they saw most mobile users were actually at home and wanted the full functionality of the desktop site.

3. Mobile impacts your other channels in ways you may not be aware of. Transactions in mobile are growing, but mobile is used even more often for purposes that support sales in other channels such as researching a product, reading reviews and comparing prices.

Measure the Mobile Customer Experience with ForeSeeOne major retail client of ours assumed their mobile customers came with the intent of making purchases. But once they started measuring, they found out most of their customers were using mobile to prepare for a store visit.

In addition, customers don’t care which channel they use to interact with your business. Having a good or bad experience in one channel will affect their perception of the entire business. A recent Harris Interactive study shows that 63% of consumers who receive a bad mobile experience from a brand believe that company will not meet their expectations across all channels. So if a potential customer visits your mobile site or uses your app today and doesn’t have a great experience, you might not get a second chance.

Measuring mobile with predictive analytics will help you understand not only how it supports other channels but also how it affects the likelihood of customers to engage with your company in those channels.

If you want to thrive in the new mobile age, every company with a mobile presence should start measuring and improving the mobile experience today.

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ForeSee Releases New E-Government Satisfaction Index and Mobile Federal Government Benchmark

The ForeSee E-Government Satisfaction Index (Q4 2013) Now Available
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ForeSee Blogger Dave Lewan

by Dave Lewan

Yesterday we released The ForeSee E-Government Satisfaction Index (Q4 2013). This report serves as a critical checkpoint for evaluating the success and performance of the federal government’s online and mobile initiatives and provides a quarterly update on citizen satisfaction with e-government websites at the aggregate level, individual satisfaction scores for the 108 federal government websites included in the Index, and  – a new milestone for ForeSee’s mobile practice and the federal government – the launch of ForeSee’s Mobile Federal Government Benchmark.

This quarter’s aggregate score for e-government websites (74.6 on the Index’s 100-point scale) is down slightly from last quarter’s but remains significantly higher than the average citizen satisfaction score with the overall federal government (66.1) reported by the ACSI Federal Government Report 2013 last month.

The ForeSee E-Government Index | Download NowWhile it’s clear citizens prefer to interact with the federal government via the Internet, the fact that citizen satisfaction scores have remained fairly steady (hovering around the 75 mark) for the last four years may be reflective of the higher expectations citizens have when it comes to getting information online. This quarter’s dip should be looked at as an eye-opener and an opportunity to focus on measurement and improvement not only on the web channel, but on the mobile channel as well.

The fact that we can now include a Mobile Federal Government Benchmark in our quarterly E-Government Satisfaction Index is a huge accomplishment for e-government, because it means more and more federal government departments, agencies and programs are actually measuring the mobile experience, which shows federal leaders are understanding the value this digital medium has in interacting with the citizen.

The aggregate visitor satisfaction score for the federal government mobile sites and apps included in the benchmark is 82 out of 100  – which is higher than average scores for other industry sectors measured by ForeSee. Another point of reference is that the Mobile Federal Government Benchmark score is higher than the average for the ForeSee Website Index (69), which includes both public and private sites, as well as the general ForeSee Mobile Benchmark. More information is included in the full report.

Today’s customers (or in this case, citizens) interact with multiple touch points using multiple devices and expect their journeys to be seamless. If citizens are unable to complete tasks via a mobile device as easily as they can through a web interaction, their satisfaction with the organization as a whole could suffer – and that’s a risk government agencies cannot afford to take.

Why? Because when compared to dissatisfied citizens, highly satisfied citizens are 90% more likely to use the federal website they evaluated as a primary resource, 96% more likely to recommend the site, 67% more likely to put their trust behind the agency, 52% more likely to return to the site, and 52% more likely to participate with the agency in the future. So there are definite cost savings associated with offering a highly satisfying website and mobile experience. Therefore, government agencies need to maintain the highest online standards by meeting or exceeding citizens’ expectations.

Download the full report to see which federal websites are meeting and exceeding citizen expectations, who needs to improve, and why digital government leaders should be making measuring and managing citizen satisfaction with mobile sites and apps a priority.

Download the ForeSee E-Government Satisfaction Index

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How Nonprofits Can Increase Online Donations and Other Random Acts of Kindness

The ForeSee Blog

The ForeSee Blog

by Kecia Brady, Marketing Representative, ForeSee

In addition to being Presidents Day in the United States, it’s also Random Acts of Kindness Day. I like this quote from our first U.S. President, George Washington, which ties into the idea that it’s the little acts we do each day that add up to making a big difference: “The turning points of lives are not the great moments. The real crises are often concealed in occurrences so trivial in appearance that they pass unobserved.”

The key word is unobserved. Each day, many people search for ways to make small but meaningful differences in their community or across the world. The web has made it easier than ever for them to research nonprofit organizations like yours in their quest. However, many nonprofits don’t have clear visibility into who is coming to their websites and why.

Increase Online DonationsAccording to ForeSee’s original research, 1 in 5 visitors to a nonprofit’s website is there to make a financial contribution. But what about those who want to make an online donation and don’t? What is it about your web experience that stops them from completing their task?

These questions don’t only apply to donations. They’re relevant for any purpose your nonprofit has for the site, whether it’s driving volunteer or member registration, providing program and services information for prospective and current clients, creating community, or many other goals.

So how do nonprofits increase online donations and other random acts of kindness? They make sure their web experience satisfy their site visitors. ForeSee’s research shows that satisfaction with the web experience is predictive of future behaviors critical to nonprofits. A highly satisfied visitor to a nonprofit website is:

  • 49% more likely to donate
  • 57% more likely to have a favorable overall impression of the organization
  • 65% more likely to recommend the site to others
  • 55% more likely to return to the site (as opposed to using costlier channels such as contact centers)
  • 38% more likely to volunteer

Visit our site and learn more about how you can increase online donations and help your site visitors follow through on their desires to spread random acts of kindness.

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U.K. Retailers and the Mobile Customer Experience Challenge

The ForeSee Experience Index (FXI): 2013 U.K. Retail Mobile Edition Now Available
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ForeSee Blogger Ben Stollard

By Ben Stollard

As the uptake of mobile e-commerce increases in the U.K. and across the world, it’s important for retailers to understand just how far its significance extends beyond direct sales alone. As the ultimate ‘companion’ channel, mobile is with the consumer along every step of the purchasing pathway — at home and in the store, on the train and in the café. And according to one prediction, this year will see smartphone penetration reach 75% of the U.K. population.

Thus, it’s incredibly important U.K. retailers get their mobile strategies right – and soon. The ForeSee Experience Index (FXI): 2013 U.K. Retail Mobile Edition shows a significant four-point customer satisfaction gap between the U.K.’s top 10 mobile retail sites and their traditional website counterparts. Why does this matter?  Because according to our research, highly satisfied mobile U.K. mobile shoppers are:

  • 69 percent more likely to purchase from that retailer in the mobile channel
  • 53 percent more likely to buy from that retailer in another channel
  • 59 percent more likely to buy from that retailer the next time they make a similar purchase;  and
  • 55 percent more likely to recommend the retailer, mobile website or app
Infographic: The ForeSee Experience Index (FXI): 2013 U.K. Retail Mobile Edition

Click to Enlarge

Today’s consumers make no distinctions between channels and expect the experience of interacting with a retailer to be seamless – whether they start their path to purchase on the web, in a store, or on a mobile device.

Although mobile retail sales in the U.K. do not yet represent as high a proportion of total sales as traditional websites, our research suggests improving the mobile customer experience is a significant opportunity that U.K. retailers should begin to address now – especially because the U.K. mobile retail landscape is not fully settled yet. In fact, none of the top 10 mobile sites measured in the ForeSee Experience Index achieved a score of 80 or above — generally considered the threshold for excellence. Marks & Spencer and Tesco top the chart for satisfaction — with both scoring 75 points. Sports Direct and NEXT take joint second place with 74 points apiece, and N Brown, Ocado and Sainsbury’s all score 73.

So the time to improve the mobile customer experience is now. Retailers who do so will be in the best position to capitalise on sales opportunities across channels, but those who fail to get the mobile customer experience right run the risk of damaging the brand and its prospects across all channels.

For more on the state of the retail mobile customer experience in the U.K., download the ForeSee Experience Index (FXI): 2013 U.K. Retail Mobile Edition.

 Download the ForeSee Experience Index (FXI): 2013 U.K. Retail Mobile Edition

If you’re interested in measuring the experience of your customers or you’d like more information on how ForeSee’s proven multichannel customer experience analytics can give you deeper insights into the customer experience to determine which improvements will have the greatest impact on your business, contact us today!

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Announcing Answers Cloud Services: A Powerful Platform for our Clients

by David Karandish, CEO of Answers

I’ve spent the past month working with the ForeSee and Answers executive teams on how best to enable ForeSee to meet the ever increasing needs of our clients. Through it all, we’ve been laser focused on ensuring that we provide the same high quality of service to current clients, while considering what additional products and resources would amplify our ability to help clients deliver on their business objectives.

I’d like to announce a number of changes that will propel ForeSee to even greater levels of client reach and satisfaction. Effective immediately, we are restructuring Answers Corporation into two distinct business units: Answers Cloud Services and Answers.com.

Answers Cloud Services is the consolidation and integration of all Answers SaaS businesses: ForeSee, Webcollage, Easy2 Technologies, and ResellerRatings. Over the last two years, Answers Corporation has been actively acquiring and integrating cloud-based companies whose platforms optimize the entire customer lifecycle: customer acquisition, conversion, brand engagement, and customer experience. Each of these platforms fills an important need for our clients, and collectively this suite of products will enable us to address a broader range of client needs across a wider audience. The Answers Cloud Services suite consists of the following:

  • ForeSee, the world leading provider of predictive, multi-channel customer experience analytics. ForeSee helps hundreds of organizations worldwide evaluate the success of their customer touch points. Its blue chip clients include half of the Fortune 100, half of the top 100 internet retailers, half of the top 10 banks, and nearly every US governmental organization. Since its inception, the company has captured more than 100 million customer experience responses for some of the largest organizations in the world. ForeSee has offices in Ann Arbor, New York, London, Vancouver, Atlanta, and Seattle.
  • Webcollage, the web’s leading cloud-based platform for managing and publishing rich product information. With over 1,000 premium consumer brands who create and publish rich product descriptions, videos, and interactive tours through their vast network of retail e-commerce sites, Webcollage helps consumers make smarter decisions while enabling brands to increase consumer engagement.
  • Easy2 Technologies, the premier provider of online and mobile interactive merchandising content for brand manufacturers and retailers. Easy2 offers creative services and merchandising technology to hundreds of premium brands and retailers to deliver engaging, educational product content that increases product awareness and sales.
  • ResellerRatings, the leading resource for shoppers looking for consumer-generated ratings and reviews of online merchants. ResellerRatings provides e-tailers with extensive reputation management tools to solicit customer reviews, post public replies, contact reviewers to resolve issues, and flag reviews from non-customers or for other terms violations. The site currently has over 1 million customer reviews and nearly 40,000 online merchants.

Over the next several weeks and months, even as we continue to execute on the ForeSee 2014 business and product strategies, we will be highly focused on integrating our suite of products as well as identifying and prioritizing additional opportunities to address client needs. Stay tuned for more details.

As part of this restructuring, we are consolidating the leadership team for Answers Cloud Services. I’m pleased to appoint Don Morrison as the General Manager of this new business unit. I have collaborated closely with Don over the last few weeks, during which he has demonstrated strong leadership, strategic vision, and client orientation. Don brings nearly 30 years of sales management expertise, most recently as ForeSee’s Senior Vice President of Sales, and I am highly confident that he will take this business to even greater heights. Working closely with Don will be Jim Yang, Senior Vice President of Products, Marketing, and Services. Jim has led the product and community teams at Answers.com for the past five years, while playing an instrumental role in Answers’ significant growth and expansion into cloud-based businesses. In his new position, he will be focused exclusively on Answers Cloud Services, with the goal of enhancing and integrating our suite of products and services for enterprise clients.

With the combination of companies, ForeSee will be the head quarters of the Answers Cloud Services business unit, and the functional teams (including sales, client services, and products) for Webcollage, Easy2, and ResellerRatings will now be rolled into the ForeSee structure.

As part of how we best position ourselves for success, we will also be restructuring our flagship property, Answers.com. Rich Dredge, formerly our Chief Revenue Officer, will be heading the Answers.com business unit as its General Manager. Rich has led our monetization and analytics initiatives for the past seven years and has been pivotal in driving strategy and financial growth during this time. In this new role, he will have complete responsibility for the financial performance and operations of Answers.com. Joining Rich on the Answers.com leadership team is Andy Ketter, Vice President of Marketing. Andy has spearheaded marketing, product, and content initiatives for Answers for the past five years and has played a critical role in shaping our marketing and product strategy. In this new role, Andy will have responsibility for marketing, products, and content. Rounding out the team is John Henderson, Senior Vice President of Advertising Sales. John has built the direct advertising sales function of Answers from the ground up and in this role and he will continue to partner with premium brands on advertising opportunities on Answers.com digital properties.

These organizational changes, along with the additional resource investments and product offerings, will enable us to fortify and expand our platform to provide a wider range of services for our clients for months and years to come. I’m looking forward to our future successes together.

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Tailoring the Customer Experience to Spanish Speakers in the U.S.

ForeSee Blogger Silvina Diaz

By Silvina Diaz

With cultural differences come differences in needs, wants and expectations, and it’s up to organizations that cater to large international groups to ensure they are providing the right experience to the right audience.

An August 2013 study published by the Pew Research Center found that the number of Spanish speakers in the U.S. has grown rapidly in the last few years and continues to grow. According to an analysis of the 2011 American Community Survey, a record of 37.6 million people ages five years and older speak Spanish at home. In addition, Spanish is the most spoken non-English language in the U.S. (37.6 million compared to the next non-English group who speaks Chinese, 2.8 million)

Tailoring the Customer Experience to Spanish SpeakersIt is important to note that not all of those who speak Spanish at home are Hispanics. The same study shows that 2.8 million of those who speak Spanish at home are non-Hispanics.

With this high (and increasing) number of people who speak Spanish at home, organizations continue to face the challenge of meeting and exceeding this group’s expectations. In particular, organizations who provide a significant amount of information online (government and non-profit organizations, among others) need to take into consideration the needs and expectations of those who speak Spanish.

To make things more complicated, there is another reality to keep in mind. A big proportion of Spanish speakers in the U.S. also speak English with different levels of proficiency. Depending on many variables (i.e. immigrant and length in the U.S., born in the U.S, level of education, income, etc.), this group may feel very comfortable accessing information in English but prefer information in Spanish. Why? While they are comfortable with the English language, they may be looking for information for others (i.e. parents who do not speak English fluently or at all, friends, etc.) in Spanish. Therefore, this group may browse for information in both languages with the goal of finding information in Spanish that they can share with others.

With this complex reality, it is crucial for organizations to be prepared to service this diverse group of Spanish speakers.

Many informational organizations that attempt to provide information in Spanish typically take one of these three approaches:

1.) Provide a literal translation of the information from English.

2.) Provide some of the information not only translated but also ‘acculturated.’

3.) Provide a different website that not only provides content in Spanish but also takes into consideration the cultural needs and wants.

One of the challenges with the first approach is that the literal translation of content does not take into consideration the type of information this group needs or wants. Sometimes the content selected for translation is not the main content Spanish speakers want since they may have different needs compared to their English-speaking counterpart. Approach 2 gets closer to providing a better online experience; however, some of the key information may be missing since not all the content is provided in Spanish.

Some sites, on the other hand, have understood the needs of this Spanish-speaking community and not only provide the information in Spanish but they also provide ‘acculturated’ information as described in Approach 3. On these sites the information is organized in a way that ‘makes sense’ to this group with the most sought after information displayed more prominently on the site.

ForeSee has had the opportunity to see all of these approaches among our clients. In an interesting analysis we compared two versions of the same U.S. federal government informational site; one website in English (let’s call this site EnglishSite.gov) and the other one in Spanish that followed Approach 3 (SpanishSite.gov).

This is what we found:

  • While EnglishSite.gov receives a high proportion of visitors who identify themselves as citizens/general public, government employee and senior citizens, SpanishSite.gov receives a high proportion of immigrants, citizens of another country who are thinking about immigrating to the U.S., college students and tourists.
  • Visitors to these sites have different goals regarding what they want to find on the site. Visitors to EnglishSite.gov were more likely to look for information related to benefits and grants, government agencies or programs, or government jobs. On the other hand, visitors to SpanishSite.gov were more likely to look for information related to immigration, employment, government services, or general information about the U.S.
  • In terms of how successful visitors were in finding what they were looking for, it was observed that only 46% of EnglishSite.gov’s visitors found what they were looking for compared to 59% of SpanishSite.gov’s visitors. Note that among those who found what they were looking for, visitors to SpanishSite.gov were more satisfied (89 vs. 83 on our 100-point scale).
  • Interestingly enough, visitors were referred to these sites in a very different way. Visitors to EnglishSite.gov were more often referred by another website or link (36%), while visitors to SpanishSite.gov were more likely to be referred by some type of media (29%).

SpanishSite.gov was successful in understanding the needs of Spanish speakers and creating a strategy to meet and exceed their expectations. As a result, visitors’ satisfaction with SpanishSite.gov was 81 (among the top sites on the ForeSee Spanish benchmark at the time) while visitors’ satisfaction for EnglishSite.gov was 70.

This is one example of how an organization was able to understand the need of servicing this different group of visitors who speak Spanish at home and take this into consideration when strategizing the website design, and the benefits of doing so.

The implications of this example is for website managers to keep in mind the importance of understanding this group and plan a specific web design strategy according to what this group needs, instead of creating a standard design for these two very different groups (Spanish speakers and English speakers in the U.S.). One of the reasons SpanishSite.gov was successful is because they used a system of metrics that helped them prioritize and implement changes that met the visitors’ expectations. We know that with better experience comes higher customer satisfaction. And with higher satisfaction comes a higher likelihood to return to the site, use the site as a main resource, and trust the entity.

It is also worth noting that this line of thinking isn’t (or shouldn’t be) restricted to just informational or governmental sites. It remains crucial for any site, public of private, attempting to provide experiences for the growing Spanish-speaking population.

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ForeSee Federal Government Mobile Benchmark

ForeSee Blogger JJ Cramer

By JJ Cramer

ForeSee’s mobile practice hits another milestone with the launch of the Federal Benchmark of mobile sites and apps for its clients.

Just the fact that there is a mobile benchmark for these organizations is huge accomplishment, meaning more and more federal government agencies, departments and organizations are actually measuring the mobile experience, which shows federal leaders are understanding the value this digital medium has in interacting with the citizen.

The satisfaction score of these federal government site and app visitors are starting strong out of the gate and showing higher average scores than other industry sectors measured by ForeSee. The aggregate satisfaction score for visitors’ traversing through the federal mobile and app sites is at 82 out of 100, and ranges from 60 to 91. In comparison, the aggregate for federal websites in Q3 2013 was 75. And, the federal mobile benchmark score is higher than the average for the ForeSee Website Index (69), which includes both public and private sites, and the general ForeSee Mobile benchmark (76).

ForeSee's Mobile Government Benchmark

We know that the increase of mobile use across the board plays a crucial part in the overall experience a visitor has with an organization. Digital communications play an important role in delivering messages to the public, reducing the cost of disseminating information and building trust and transparency to citizens.  Digital experiences, whether good or bad, have a huge impact in driving the behavior of your visitors.

So what is the value of satisfying visitors to government mobile sites and apps?  Highly satisfied citizens are 123% more likely to recommend the site and 113% more likely to return than dissatisfied visitors.  Satisfying visitors and helping them accomplish their tasks helps reduce call volume, and that can mean greater efficiency and enormous savings for organizations that are typically strapped with stringent budgets.  ForeSee’s work has shown that satisfaction increases of even just one point can generate ROI of millions of dollars for an organization.

While these federal sites score well at the aggregate level there is always room for improvement. That’s the great thing about having a robust metric system to continuously measure the citizen experience with – you can prioritize improvements to what citizens want rather than just guessing.

Analyzing the aggregate data, there are some consistent trouble spots that need improvement.  With an abundance of content that is hard to scale from web screen to mobile screen visitors struggled with navigation.  In fact, in the benchmark, 80% of the sites and/or apps registered navigation as a top priority to focus on, meaning it was the lowest scoring and highest impact to the overall experience for visitors to federal mobile experiences.

Throughout much of our work we typically see mobile play a unique role in the needs of customers and the same is holding true for citizens.  Federal sites need to align their mobile content around the specific primary needs of their mobile audience.  This will help them optimize their content prioritization and navigation layouts for mobile users. This makes measuring the unique needs of the mobile audience all that more important.

Granted, there is a bit of an advantage in the Federal sector in that many of these sites do not contain significant (or, in some cases, any) functionality and often time are informational only sites.  Not having data entry, payment processes or other functional elements may make it easier to satisfy visitors, but even when compared to mobile content sites Federal mobile sites are scoring higher on average (82 vs. 74).

Mobile continues to change how you not just communicate but how you can service and engage your constituents. While e-government is typically limited on functionality, it should be at the ready to increase the experience on this front.  Many government sites have downloadable forms; unfortunately, tablets and handheld mobile devices are not conducive to downloads and document management.  Such sites need to consider email as a means of form delivery. This way, mobile users can have the desired forms sent directly to them rather than having to re-enter their search from a desktop later.

Government mobile sites may also consider other functionality to help communicate such as a calendar for visitors seeking information not yet available. This function could provide an option for a citizen to calendar an event to alert them when the information is available.

With such a great ROI on satisfying visitors whether you scored high or low, the real focus needs to be on continuous improvement.  It then becomes vital to begin establishing internal benchmarks so you can monitor your improvement over time.  Because the only guarantee is that expectations will continue to rise over time and there are many other use cases where mobile functionality can enhance the government efforts to service citizens.

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Financial Institutions Need to Earn Customer Satisfaction with the Mobile Experience, Not Buy It

ForeSee Blogger Brendan Deasy

By Brendan Deasy

What does it cost to dominate mobile in banking these days?

With consumer behavior shifting dramatically from branch networks to online and mobile channels, the stakes have never been higher for financial services organizations.  Brett King, in his book Bank 3.0, believes that banking will be primarily a mobile and online endeavor in as little as just two years.

Financial Services Mobile Customer Experience

We know mobile is important to banks, but let’s get back to what it costs…

Bank of America (BoA) apparently believes it costs a lot. BoA reduced the number of branches by 6% to 5,151 and grew their mobile user base by 20% to 14.4 million compared to a year ago. They are reducing their costs by cutting back on the more expensive service channel (branches) in order to serve and meet customers in their preferred (and more cost-effective) channel.

So, how much is a lot?

Rather than me tell you, I think it’d be better to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth. Here are BoA CEO Brian Moynihan’s own words during their earnings call last week:

“So we have probably a half a billion dollars we put in the online mobile platform across the last three or four years, and we’ll continue to invest at that rate.”

Half a billion already invested and another half billion to come. How does another bank, whether large, regional or credit union, compete with that? Of course, it could help to have that kind of budget but the stark reality is that even other large banks don’t have those resources available. I’ll let you in on a little secret: regardless of how much money you throw at it, customer satisfaction with the mobile experience can’t be bought…it has to be earned.

The key to competing (and winning) is to make smart, confident decisions based on a true understanding of customer needs and expectations. When faced with a long list of business requirements or features in your product backlog, let your customers guide you in prioritizing the improvements that will truly drive mobile innovation. It starts with having a system of metrics that includes robust customer experience analytics that allows you to continuously measure and analyze your mobile experience (as well as benchmark them against both industry competitors and mobile leaders across different industries) so you can iterate and accelerate your mobile development cycle to keep up with rising consumer expectations.

Consumers’ expectations in the mobile banking channel are not just being set by singular mobile experiences – they are being set across a multitude of mobile interactions across channels and it takes a multichannel measurement that can help track a customer’s journey across the experience.

The mobile experience will be, if it isn’t already, a key driver for acquisition and retention for financial institutions. More so than any other challenge facing banks today, mobile success will determine a firm’s overall success in the very near future.

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Usability Perspective: 5 Financial Services Login Tips for a Better Customer Experience

ForeSee Blogger Kathy Totz

by Kathy Totz

Any bank, insurance agency, investment firm, or other financial services institution will tell you that one of the most common task (if not the most common) driving visitors to the site is the ability to log in to their account. Because logging in is such an important key task, it is important that the process be as clear, streamlined, and usable as possible. Here are 5 different ways you can enhance the usability of your login process:

1.) Make login the most prominent thing on homepage by providing the fields directly on the page

Because so many of your customers will be immediately looking for the path to log in upon arriving on the homepage, it should be one of the most prominent and accessible elements. First, the fields for username and password should appear directly on the page, rather than requiring customers to click a link to be taken to them. This ensures customers have immediate access to logging in and do not have to waste time or clicks doing so. In addition, the login fields should be presented in a highly contrasting and attention-grabbing color to ensure they are not overlooked, and the action mechanism should likewise be clearly presented, prominent, and eye-catching, such as in the below examples:

Financial Services Customer Experience Login Tips

Financial Services Customer Experience  Login Tips

2.) Offer “Remember Me” functionality

Your customers will return to your site over and over again to check on the status of their transactions and accounts, so it makes sense to make this process as streamlined and efficient for them as possible. One increasingly conventional way to do this is to offer Remember Me functionality—that is, remember the username of their login info so that there is one less field to fill out in order to log in.  Without this functionality, customers are forced to enter their username every time they visit the site, which is really an unnecessary burden for those who wish to access their accounts on a regular basis.  Remember Me functionality should be presented as a check box  in close conjunction with the account login fields, thus giving customers the option to allow the site to use cookies to recognize them.

There are some security concerns about implementing this functionality—remembering customers’ username gives hackers half of the necessary information to break into an account. This is especially concerning when customers might be accessing their account from a public computer. It’s important that customers know when it is and is not appropriate to use Remember Me functionality, so best practice calls for a link or contextual help feature to give them more information about how the functionality works and warn them not to opt in if they are using a shared or public computer:

Financial Services Customer Experience "Remember Me" functionality

3.) Provide an option for customers to see their password—that is, remove password masking

Occasionally there is a balance that must be struck between security and usability (see tip #2 above), but in this particular case it may surprise you that usability concerns win by a landslide. Research by Jakob Nielsen makes a particularly compelling case, citing how password masking increases typing errors, which results in user frustration. Moreover, it may even reduce security by making customers more likely to use simple passwords (that they know they can type without error) or try to copy-and-paste passwords from a (probably unencrypted) file on their computer.

It’s still worth offering the ability to mask passwords, so that customers can log into their account without worrying about other Starbucks customers glancing over their shoulder, but a checkbox should be provided to remove the masking when customers would rather check their input than remain high-security:

Financial Services Customer Experience Password Masking

4.) Make username and password recovery as painless as possible

Customers have a lot of online accounts and passwords to keep track of, so occasionally they may forget their financial login information. While security is of utmost importance, offering a simple and flexible process will help get forgetful customers back on track.

First, customers may make repeated attempts to remember the correct login info, only to find that they have exceeded the maximum number of tries and have been locked out. Giving feedback about the number of attempts left is important to prevent this potentially surprising and frustrating result. In addition, it’s important to offer the ability to retrieve both the username and password, as customers are apt to forget either part of their login. In addition, offering multiple modes of authentication gives customers the flexibility to use the one that is most convenient for them. For instance, Chase offers customers the ability to have an authentication code either emailed or texted to their phone:

Financial Services Customer Experience Password Recovery

5.) Enhance customers’ perception of security and trustworthiness by adding additional messaging and imagery

Financial sites have additional opportunities to inspire trust and confidence during the login process. Additional messaging and iconography such as “secure log in” and padlock symbols reinforce the perceived trustworthiness of the site and helps to reassure customers the site has their privacy in mind. Shown here, these sites use visual signals such as differentiating the payment fields, secure messaging, third-party trustmarks, padlock symbols, and links to the site’s privacy policy to reinforce the security of customers’ accounts.

Financial Services Customer Experience Security

Kathy Totz is a Usability Auditor at ForeSee, where she uses her experience in conducting research and academic training to perform expert usability audits in industries such as Financial Services, Retail, Health Care, Technology, Telecommunications, and Government.

Learn more about how ForeSee helps financial services and other industries measure, manage, and improve the customer experience at ForeSee.com.

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It’s Just Not in the Budget…

ForeSee Blogger Kevin Gates

By Kevin Gates

“I am putting together a budget.”

“It’s just not in my budget.”

“We really need to budget for that.”

Sound familiar?

Like many people in the world today, I, too had to sit down and put together a budget for my family. I had been putting this off for quite some time as I believed it to be a very unpleasant process. Plus, and I did not want to be held to a set of rules that would determine what I could and could not purchase on a daily basis. I also knew deep down that this was going to force me to take a long look in the mirror and face some of the financial mistakes I had made in the past. What could be more uncomfortable than that?

When it's just not in the budgetTurns out, I was looking at this process entirely the wrong way. A budget is not put in place to limit our happiness or prevent us from doing the things we enjoy. A budget is put in place to assist you in analyzing your wants and needs – the things that are  most important to you in your life – so you can prioritize them and make sound decisions.

This concept is no different in business. Far too often I speak to individuals who make decisions solely based on a budget that was created 8-10 months earlier. Now, I am not saying a budget isn’t necessary – remember I have implemented one myself. However, I am realistic and understand my needs may change over time. Just like any successful business today, I need to be able to adapt to my surroundings and changes in the marketplace. My needs will more than likely change as will those of your customers. If you do not have your finger on the pulse of your clients today – you are falling behind and it may be too late to catch up. This is what the technological revolution has brought to the market – a faster paced world where only the most informed survives.

One of my favorite scenes in the movie Moneyball is near the end when Boston Red Sox owner John Henry is speaking to Billy Beane and about to offer to hand over the keys to run the team. The conversation revolves around Beane’s approach to running the A’s and making them a successful franchise with the lowest payroll in the Major Leagues. Talk about a challenging budget! Henry tells Beane that if teams are not taking his blueprint for success and implementing it immediately, they are dinosaurs.

Like most organizations, the A’s worked from a very small budget with no room for error, so each and every decision had to be the right one. Thus, Beane instituted a process of looking at his roster analytically to put together a team that would produce runs and victories. He did not worry about traditional statistics like batting average, home runs or runs batted in. He was looking for players whose production matched or exceeded their cost. His success has been well documented and the Oakland A’s continue to be one of the winningest franchises in baseball.

As an organization, how do you prevent yourself from becoming a dinosaur? Very few organizations are have the resources the Yankees do and cannot afford to just throw money at problems. We still have to deal with our budgets – and, let’s be honest, it is always limited. We must do what Billy Beane has done. We must work smarter and we must focus on what is most important. For Beane it was runs; for companies it is customers.

Thus, the focus must always be on what the customer wants, needs and expects. Companies must invest in tools that will not only collect the voice of their customers but provide the analysis to truly understand what is most important to them. Then, and only then, can you put a budget in place that will focus on what is most important to your success – your customers.

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