The research paper analyzes the banking websites of the top 20 banks in today’s user-centred digital landscape
Red Blue Blur Ideas (RBBi), the first human-centered digital solutions consultancy in the Middle East, this week released its 2018 research study on the local banking and financial industry titled, ‘An Analysis of Banking Websites in the Gulf region.’
RBBi’s 2018 banking research paper featured the top 20 banks in the Gulf with an analysis of the challenges around the different stages of the user journey. The research paper reported 85% of the UAE consumer’s preference to bank online, with over 80% citing convenience as the major factor for this preference.
According to Flow Fournier, Senior UX Manager at RBBi, “The majority of customers in the Gulf region clearly prefers to handle their daily banking transactions from their phones and laptops. Their expectations are a lot higher today than they were a couple of years ago, so excellent online service is no longer an option. Our research showed us that while a few leading banks are showing a good understanding of user-centred practices, there is ample room for improvement.”
(Flow Fournier, Senior UX Manager at RBBi)
The local banking and financial industry is undergoing rapid transformation, with more banking customers using multiple channels to research products, open, use and manage their accounts, resolve issues and check account balance. McKinsey 2017 research on urban consumers in the UAE and KSA for example, show that at least 80% of these consumers now prefer to do a portion of their banking on computers, smartphones and tablets. They visit branches and call customer support service hotlines only to meet specific and more complex needs.
RBBi’s 2018 study reported three important reasons for visiting websites, with online banking being the most important reason followed by retrieving important product information and branch details. Online banking and mobile apps have become millions of customers’ touchpoints of choice for managing their finances; another RBBi’s study conducted in 2016 revealed that more than 20% of the respondents highlighted a bank website itself as a key influence on their financial decision making.
“Consumers are expecting more out of their mobile and online banking experiences now than ever before as they move more of their transactions and financial data to digital channels. Gulf banks must contend with multiple challenges tied to regulations, legacy systems, disruptive models and technologies, new competitors, and a restive customer base while pursuing new strategies for sustainable growth,” added Fournier.
The research finds that usage will continue to rise as consumers increasingly opt for banks offering the convenience of rapid, multi-channel digital services. This means that banks will need to focus on providing a more frictionless digital experience to their customers, especially if they are to remain market leaders.
A lot more attention is now given to understanding users better, particularly their behaviours and their journey across the bank’s service portfolio. As users grow more dependent on digital and become more omnichannel themselves, banks need to follow suit to become “contextually omnichannel.” Today the need is to put user experience at the centre of all operations and processes.
A comprehensive analysis of the websites indicated that:
-70% of them integrated an analytics tracking solution,
-60% were fully optimized for mobile devices,
-30% were optimized for page load time,
-85% of them integrated a secured connection.
Customer satisfaction with different channels influences that customer’s future banking behaviour, which in turn affects key factors such as additional cross-sell, increased profitability, and reduced cost to service. RBBi’s research underlines the importance of offering a consistent banking experience across all devices which includes the use of tools and interfaces that make a user’s journey seamless.