When potential clients first visit a bank's Web site, they are often presented with a myriad of choices regarding the types and styles of deposit accounts they might open with the firm. Indeed, if you look just at checking options Citibank has 6 types of accounts, JPMorgan Chase has 4 (not including student accounts), and Bank of America has five types of checking accounts. And this is just checking. If you include savings and CDs, the number of account options become overwhelming.In this week's Bank Monitor Update, we highlighted that Wachovia introduced a new account recommendation tool to help prospective clients wade through their options. The Flash-based tool features separate questionnaires that recommend checking and savings accounts and Wachovia is now the eighth firm we track that offers such a tool - up from six when we published a full report on this useful website feature back in July.
In that report, we highlighted Bank of America as the best practice example for account selection tools and it still holds today. B of A provides the most complete and well-organized deposit selection tool. Its Account Finder enables users to search for either checking accounts, savings accounts, or both from within a single tool, while basing its recommendations on more than just projected balance levels. The results page, meanwhile, displays suggested accounts in an easily comparable side-by-side format and includes enough information to give users a complete picture of each account it is suggesting. In addition, users can choose to apply for as many of the suggested accounts as they would like simultaneously, by selecting multiple checkboxes from the separate (but successive) checking and savings recommendation pages.
Account selection tools can be a useful and important feature for banks to offer their clients, but they need to be executed well. In our report on this topic, we highlighted a number of recommendations that firms might follow when designing and upgrading any such tools, including:
• Provide account recommendations in a comparison table • Provide links to apply directly from the selector tool • Offer both savings and checking options via one tool • Present package offerings to clients who express interest in multiple products
A well-designed account selection tool not only eases the burden of choice for the prospect, it sets the tone for the overall relationship. After all, if the client has a good experience from the start, it becomes easier to sell them things in the future.A well-designed account selection tool not only eases the burden of choice for the prospect, it sets the tone for the overall relationship. After all, if the client has a good experience from the start, it becomes easier to sell them things in the future.