Akamai Reveals Critical Link between Site Performance and Customer Satisfaction for Financial Services Firms

Cambridge, MA |

Akamai Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: AKAM), the leader in powering video, dynamic transactions and enterprise applications online, today released key findings from a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Akamai examining the impact of website performance on customer satisfaction in financial services. The study results reveal that expectations for website performance are high, with 75% of online financial services consumers expecting 99% or higher web site availability. The findings indicate that website performance is second only to security in user expectations with 36% of online bankers - consumers who bank online - and 42% of online brokers - consumers who trade online - stating the importance of 100% availability.

Additional findings state that 56% of online bankers and brokers expect web pages to load in two seconds or less, which is significantly more than 47% of consumers who are just shopping online. Website performance ranks above even functions like single sign-on or a website that is easy-to-use.

"Financial services firms have done a great job ensuring core systems are always available," said Stephen Pierzchala, consultant for Gomez, the Web performance division of Compuware Corporation. "But there is room for improvement for them on the Internet. In our most recent banking benchmark, 35 of the 47 banks we measure fail to deliver pages in two seconds or less."

Based on the feedback of 621 U.S. consumers who bank or trade online, Forrester Consulting reached the following key conclusions: ,

  • The web channel is vital to an ever-growing percentage of users. The importance of the Internet for financial services has been growing for years. 57% of online US adults bank online, and 36% of online US adults who have an investment account invest online. 29% of online bankers and 27% of online brokers access their accounts on a daily basis – a segment referred to as Power Users.
  • Website users have high expectations for website availability and page load speed. 75% of online bankers and brokers expect 99% website availability or higher. Additionally, 56% of online bankers and brokers expect web pages to load in two seconds or less.
  • Poor website performance leads to dissatisfaction more often then any other factor. 64% of online US bankers and brokers have had a dissatisfying experience when accessing their accounts. Web performance is far and away the biggest reason for this dissatisfaction with 54% of online bankers and 33% of online brokers expressing that sentiment.

"Financial services customers are using the online channel more and more every year. Since the economic downturn they are checking their accounts even more frequently," said Kevin Levitt, vice president of online market intelligence firm comScore. "This study confirms that online performance can have a big impact on customer acquisition and satisfaction. Providers that deliver a fast application process will see the reward in higher customer conversion."

The study also finds that website performance has a direct impact on revenues, profits and satisfaction. According to the study, three in ten web shoppers who encounter performance problems go to a competitor. In fact, 29% of users who encounter problems in the research process on a financial services website opt to go to a competitor's website. 48% of online brokers who are conducting a transaction would use the phone or branch if they could not conduct their transaction online. The ultimate effect of poor performance is a decrease in willingness to recommend a firm with 48% of online bankers and brokers stating that poor performance "impacted" or "significantly impacted" their likeliness to recommend a firm's services to a friend or family member. In addition, the study notes that the more engaged a user is online, the more profitable they are and the lower cost they are to serve. The Power Users are less costly for banks to service and drive more direct revenue for brokerage firms.

"This study shows performance is more than a nice to have. Performance issues translate into real costs for the business," said Rich Bolstridge, chief strategist for financial services at Akamai. "Online brokerages that can't deliver a fast, reliable experience are going to lose transactions and loyalty, first from active traders and then from the individual investor. Banks are going to see customers bounce to higher cost channels or worse yet, churn at a higher rate. There is a constant pressure to increase the level of functionality on the site, but unless you pay attention to performance, you could be doing more harm than good."

Akamai will host and deliver a webcast discussing the trends and findings from this study featuring Brad Strothkamp, eBusiness and Channel Strategy analyst for Forrester on Thursday, January 28, 2009 at 12 p.m. Eastern. To register, please visit https://www.techwebonlineevents.com/ars/eventregistration.do?mode=eventreg&F=1002038&K=CAA1DC

To read and download a complimentary copy of the full study, please visit http://www.akamai.com/en/us/our-thinking/white-papers.jsp

The Akamai Difference

Akamai® provides market-leading managed services for powering video, dynamic transactions, and enterprise applications online. Having pioneered the content delivery market one decade ago, Akamai's services have been adopted by the world's most recognized brands across diverse industries. The alternative to centralized Web infrastructure, Akamai's global network of tens of thousands of distributed servers provides the scale, reliability, insight and performance for businesses to succeed online. Akamai has transformed the Internet into a more viable place to inform, entertain, advertise, interact, and collaborate. To experience The Akamai Difference, visit visit www.akamai.com and follow @Akamai on Twitter.