First Quarter 2010 USA Financial Services Industry Evaluation: Customer Respect Group

Fidelity, AXA Equitable and Nationwide rank top among leading financial services websites

The Customer Respect Group, an international research and consulting firm that focuses on how corporations treat and respect their online customers, today released findings from its first quarter 2010 financial services industry evaluation.

The criteria used to measure websites make up the Customer Respect Index (CRI). The index reflects best practices, online trends, common practices and developments within the commercial web environment.

The leading financial services websites in Q1 2010

The top-ranked sites for Q4 2009 were Fidelity, AXA Equitable, Nationwide, TIAA-CREF, and John Hancock.

The Customer Respect Index comprises three sub-indexes, and besides the leaders, three other sites performed strongly in certain areas relative to their competitors: Mass Mutual, The Hartford, and Principal.

Industry findings

We monitor the major financial services providers� sites continuously. The CRI is a framework for benchmarking, but we also identify, track and analyze business and technical trends in the life insurance industry and others.

The key findings in financial services websites were:

  • Many landing pages do not support key tasks
    Prospects researching retirement options will in many cases not have a satisfactory �base� page from which to find out more about products and services of interest
  • Confusing navigation not enabling task completion
    Too many sites require visitors to navigate through different domains to get the full picture. Also, content is too often structured illogically and not task-oriented
  • Not all companies make it easy for site visitors to get in touch
    Site visitors will frequently need to escalate or involve a representative, either to get answers to questions or to move the process another step towards completion. Not all sites make this easy enough
  • Rich interactive guides/tools, video not used enough
    Interactive tools, calculators, guides and video are a very good way of simplifying complex content and decisions taking advantage of the unique platform the web provides. The industry has been slow to adopt this technology
  • Not all sites meeting the demand for self-management
    Opportunities to log into account management facilities, and demonstrations of what can be done behind the logon, are not prominent on all sites. This gives the impression that enabling customers to manage their own accounts is not a priority for many organizations

The full report contains an expanded discussion of the Q1 2010 findings, a more detailed evaluation of results, examples of best practice, and custom recommendations for your website.

About The Customer Respect Group

The Customer Respect Group is an international research and consulting firm that uses its Customer Respect Index (CRI�) methodology to help companies improve how they treat their customers online. It provides leadership in the objective and scientific measurement of a customer�s online experience. Since 2003, we have evaluated thousands of websites, and created a comprehensive database of best practices, trends and behaviors across a wide range of industries. This ever-increasing knowledgebase, coupled with the expertise of our analysts, underpins the value of our evaluations to our customers.