Latest Forrester research released: The Impact of Poor Web Site Performance in Financial Services

Akamai Technologies commissioned Forrester Consulting in the Autumn of 2009, to help understand the state of the Web related to financial services along with the impact of Web site performance on both the servicing and the sales of financial products.

Based on this  Forrester consulting study of 621 US consumers who bank or trade online, Forrester’s study yielded these key findings:

The Web channel is vital to an ever-growing percentage of users. The importance of the Web channel for financial services has been growing for years. As of 2009, 57% of online US adults bank online, and 36% of online US adults who have an investment account invest online.

Even more important, 29% of online bankers and 27% of online brokers access their accounts on a daily basis — a segment we call Power Users. These frequent users are less costly for banks to service and drive more direct revenue for brokerage firms. Web site users have high expectations for Web site availability and page load speed. Web user expectations grow as the importance of the Web in their lives grows. Seventy-five percent of online bankers and brokers expect 99% Web site availability or higher.

Additionally, 56% of online bankers and brokers expect Web pages to load in 2 seconds or less; this is far above the 47% of consumers who are just shopping online.1 Poor Web site performance leads to dissatisfaction more often than any other factor. Sixty-four percent of online US bankers and brokers have had a dissatisfying experience when servicing their accounts. Web performance is far and away the biggest reason for this dissatisfaction. Fifty-four percent of online bankers and 33% of online brokers who have had a dissatisfying experience said that a Web site that crashed, froze, or was unavailable was the primary source of their dissatisfaction. The consequences for financial service firms with underperforming sites are higher channel costs, lost sales, and a decrease in user willingness to recommend. The impact of poor Web site performance is large.

Fifty percent of online brokers who are conducting a transaction would use the phone or branch if they could not conduct their transactions online. Twenty-nine percent of online US adults researching a financial product would meanwhile go to a competitor’s site if they were unable to efficiently view content at a financial service Web site. The ultimate effect of poor performance is a decrease in willingness to recommend a firm, with 48% of online bankers and brokers saying that poor performance had an impact or significant impact on their likeliness to recommend a firm’s services to a friend or family member.

You can sign up via Akamai to read the full report here.

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