Online Mystery Shoppers Vote First Direct as Best Banking Website

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First Direct has topped the latest finance eMysteryShopper benchmark study from eDigitalResearch, which assesses the online customer experience across 15 of the high-street and pure-online banking providers.

With the banking sector looking to regain consumer confidence after the recent financial crisis, the survey highlights the need for more focus on providing a satisfying online customer experience, as the average online satisfaction score is 74%, which trails the retail sector by 7%.

At 82%, First Direct was seen to offer the best website experience, scoring highly for its simple to use account area, easy to find contact information and its non-automated telephone service.

Product information pages recorded the highest satisfaction score overall with Halifax, at 91%, offering industry best-practice through easily navigable pages, a wealth of product information and simple product explanations.

Pure online banks such as First Direct and Smile have recognised the importance of customer service, with First Direct credited for it being the only bank to provide a personal human response, while Smile came out top for its speedy and personal email response. As the Internet becomes the preferred method of contact, it is important to mirror the high street branch experience online and this is where traditional high street banks can improve.

Email customer service was clearly the weakest area, with a third of respondents unable to find an email address and a half of these not receiving a reply within 24 hours. Online banking requires a lot of trust on the part of the consumer, so this is an area where banks can differentiate themselves and provide their customers’ with confidence in their ability to help.

Lloyd Viney, associate director of the finance division for eDigitalResearch, explains: “Banks ultimately need to focus on rebuilding customer trust. Providing a seamless integrated approach where customers can research products and fulfil requests across their preferred channel will go some way in helping them to achieve this. Banks should also consider integrating chat capabilities and human assistance to enable customers to have a better and more meaningful dialogue with the bank.”

To download the full league tables, please click on the following URL:

For more information, please contact Natalie Lyndon at Merchant Marketing Group on: 023 8021 5389; natalie(at)merchantmarketinggroup(dot)com


  •     An eMysteryShopper survey was conducted to compare the end-to-end usability of 15 leading UK bank websites
  •     All eMysteryShoppers were customers of the banks they surveyed
  •     An eMysteryShopper survey typically covers some 200 quantitative and qualitative questions split under the following questions:

–    Home Page
–    Financial Product Offering
–    Account Area
–    Customer Service (telephone/email)
–    Customer Service Guidance
–    Final assessment

  •     Collection was carried out using the eMysteryShopper Panel of internet users in March 2010
  •     The eFinance Benchmark is one of a series of benchmark studies covering retail, travel and home services

About eDigitalResearch
eDigitalResearch is a leading provider of digital market research, enabling customers to make critical business decisions with the benefit of comprehensive consumer insight and informed direction. eDigitalResearch possesses a unique combination of research expertise, marketing background, web technology and knowledge of the cross-channel consumer. As well as providing invaluable research data, the modules of its fully integrated research system - ratings, surveys, panels, communities and forums - can combine to provide holistic analytics and essential market-leading insight. This gives its clients the power, confidence and backup to make crucial decisions on key aspects of their business including product range, marketing, customer service, supply chain, even basic positioning. For further information, please visit:


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