Online Banking Audit Reveals Major Opportunities for Customer Service Improvement

Over Thirty Percent of Banks Failed to Respond to Online Queries

Bellevue, WA – February 21, 2008 – Figures from the American Bankers’ Association show that the banking industry holds in excess of $7.17 trillion in loans, including the billions of dollars in mortgage, credit card, auto loans and commercial loans.  In an industry where products and services are being rapidly commoditized and the cost of switching is low, customer service is now a primary competitive differentiator banks have over one another.  Surprisingly then, a just released audit commissioned by online customer service specialist Talisma Corporation reveals significant service failures by the top 50 banks in North America.

A mystery shopper exercise conducted during November 2007 queried the top banks on how to open an account and what kind of products and services are available for individual customers.  The audit revealed the following:

  • 36% of customer emails went unanswered by the banks
  • 96% of those audited did not offer live chat as a communication channel
  • 94% of banks did not offer a “true” dynamic, flexible knowledge base – the majority of banks offered little more than a list of static FAQs

Talisma’s audit awarded each bank a score out of 100, based on a range of customer service criteria, including speed of response, accuracy, completeness of information provided, and the personalization of interactions.

“Meeting expectations through customer service is a distinct trust issue with consumers in today’s competitive marketplace,” said Steve Cox, Vice President, Council of Better Business Bureaus. “The Talisma report clearly highlights that our nation’s leading banks need to examine, and then take action to improve, performance on customer service practices that build consumer confidence, loyalty and trust.”

Talisma will be discussing the results from the audit and providing best practices for contact centers seeking to improve customer service during a webinar presentation on February 28th at 11 a.m. PDT / 2 p.m. EDT titled “Crisis in the Call Center:  An Audit of Customer Service at the Top 50 Retail Banks in North America”. To register for the webinar, visit: The complete audit findings will be available for download at the conclusion of the webinar on the Talisma Financial Services Web page.

“We hope this report will be a catalyst that sparks an improvement in online banking customer service,” said Dan Vetras, President & CEO, Talisma.  “While it is encouraging that banks are providing good customer service via the phone, with the mass adoption of online banking it is imperative to offer a variety of online customer service touch points in order to attract and retain business.  In addition to providing these online customer service channels, responses must be consistent, timely and accurate.”


Talisma periodically conducts customer experience audits that evaluate the communication channels of hundreds of companies, both in the US and around the world. The purpose is to capture, measure, and track meaningful data about the online customer experience. All of the criteria used in the audit are based on customer-centered attributes for success.

To create this report, Talisma commissioned a “mystery shopper” exercise during November 2007, contacting the top 50 banks in North America.  Please refer to Appendix A of the complete audit report for the list of banks included in this study.