Study and ranking of 20 retail banks operating on the French market, based on 132 indicators measuring the level of use and performance of their digital channels (web, mobile applications and social networks), as part of the relationship with their customers and prospects.
This new study « Digital CX: Presence & Satisfaction » 2018 focuses on the Retail Banking sector in France. It aims to measure the relative performance of banking players in the French market in terms of the use of digital channels to interact with their prospects and customers.
For a retail bank, a comparatively high use of digital channels in its relationship with prospects and customers is a key indicator of its digital performance. In particular, it reflects a greater capacity to attract new consumers, provide high-performance digital solutions and optimize operating costs.
- Methodology and scope of analysis –
The Presence & Satisfaction module is one of the four pillars of the D-Rating rating. It is based on data from outside the company to measure its impact on the main digital territories: the Web, mobile applications, social networks.
The performance index is calculated on the basis of more than 130 quantified indicators, reflecting the brand’s relative strength (relative to its customer base) in these territories, the level of commitment of its audience, the public assessments of its customers and also the quality of its presence – particularly in terms of technical performance and cybersecurity.
- Portfolio of retail banking brands studied -
A total of 20 brands – representative of the competitive environment of the retail banking sector in France in 2018 – were studied. This panel brings together several categories of actors: traditional banks, first generation online banks, neo-banks and payment institutions.
3 actors, assessed in the study, are not included in the overall ranking:
The 2018 ranking of retail banks in France on the « Digital CX : Presence and Satisfaction » section shows:
- A very significant gap between the leading bank on the study (the neo-bank N26) and the other players.
- For the CM Arkea, Société Générale and BNP Paribas groups, a superior performance of their online banking subsidiary compared to their traditional retail banking network.
- The ability of some traditional banks (Crédit Agricole, La Banque Postale) to do as well as the best online banks.
Beyond the general ranking, the detailed results of the study highlight contrasting levels of performance between the different players on the 3 types of digital channels analysed: Web, Mobile Applications and Social Networks. Faced with the diversity of possible actions, banks may need to focus their efforts on specific points in the digital customer relationship. For example, a low level of web or app traffic compared to the market may mean that the bank must invest in promoting these tools by employees in branches or call centers. A drop in satisfaction with mobile applications raises questions about investing in technical teams or quality tests.
The 3 most successful banks on the Web channel are: La Banque Postale, Fortuneo Banque and Boursorama Banque.
For La Banque Postale and Fortuneo Banque, this performance on the Web channel is characterized by a high rate of direct visits, which would seem to indicate traffic mainly related to their customers’ access.
The 3 most successful banks on the Mobile Applications channel are: N26, HSBC France and Fortuneo Bank.
In this area, N26 is far ahead. Among other banks, HSBC France stands out in particular for its activity in awnings, helped by the promotion of its new application dedicated to French customers « HSBC France ».
The 3 most successful banks on the Social Networks channel are: N26, Crédit Agricole and Hello Bank!.
In this area, N26 and Crédit Agricole are on a par with each other, with a high score in particular for generating Web traffic from social networks. Hello Bank! stands out especially in terms of commitment (number of likes, comments, retweets,…) on these social network accounts.
Observation n°1: Competition on digital channels is open and we observe several significant shifts in the rankings between 2017 and 2018
The highest increase in terms of ranking position was achieved by HSBC France, thanks above all to its performance in the Mobile Applications channel.
Crédit Mutuel also showed significant growth, with a score close to the average for each of the three channels.
Finally, Hello Bank! gained 5 positions thanks to its performance on the web and social networks.
BNP Paribas is experiencing a significant drop in the ranking due, on the one hand, to a decrease in web traffic compared to 2017 and, on the other hand, to a decrease in satisfaction expressed in mobile application stores. Societe Generale is experiencing a general decline across all digital territories: web, mobile and social networks. LCL is dropping in the rankings mainly because of a deterioration in its satisfaction scores on mobile applications.
We also note that digital competition is intensifying as efforts made on search engine optimization and online advertising are becoming more and more important. A direct consequence could be an increase in acquisition costs for banks with an aggressive development strategy.
Observation n°2: The banking relationship continues to be digitalized and is becoming more and more mobile
The number of connections on banks’ websites per customer continues to grow rapidly with an increase of nearly 10% between 2017 and 2018. This increase in traffic makes the need to produce a quality digital experience even more critical. It also implies an opportunity to achieve economies of scale by reducing investment in agencies or call centers.
Visits to bank sites from mobile phones (or tablets) jumped 40% between 2017 and 2018 to almost 50%. This figure should continue to increase because the French average of web visits from mobile phones or tablets, all sites combined, is 71% (Source: Médiamétrie) and continues to increase. In this context, the few banks that do not yet offer fully mobile-friendly browsing on all their sites are taking an ever-increasing risk and demonstrating their difficulties in successfully transforming to digital.
Observation n°3: Not all banks are at the highest level of cyber security
In partnership with Cyrating, a cybersecurity rating agency, the 2018 Presence & Satisfaction study includes new indicators related to cybersecurity and more specifically the protection of websites.
Cybersecurity is a key issue for retail banking and it is surprising to note that web channel protections, in compliance with standards and best practices, are nowadays far from being widespread.
In this area, we note that the majority of banks have a high level of protection, only 3 banks in the panel obtain average ratings.
We note from the information provided by Cyrating rating agency that traditional banks do not offer more reliable than average cybersecurity services. However, in the face of increasing competition from online banks, new banks and payment institutions, traditional banks would do well to focus on qualitative and premium services, thus ensuring a superior service compared to the competition, which would increase the customer experience and by extension improve customer confidence. Protection against cybercrime could then become a major differentiating factor in this context.
Observation n°4: The level of use of a mobile application does not only depend on its functional richness; operational quality is key
No link could be observed between the number of functionalities offered on the applications and the level of use and satisfaction of users of mobile banking applications.
An analysis of the comments was made on the blinds of the banks at the top of the ranking (N26, Fortuneo & Crédit Agricole) and the banks in decline (BNP, Banque Populaire, Caisse d’Epargne, Crédit du Nord) in the « Presence & Satisfaction » study.
While lower-ranked banks obtain a high proportion of dissatisfied comments about bugs, removal or degradation of features or inability to connect (73%). Banks with a higher rating have a higher proportion of dissatisfaction comments referring to the lack of certain functionalities or to a convenience of use that is even lower than customers’ expectations.
These results therefore reveal a fairly logical observation. An application must first work properly before customers can express their functional requirements. The action plan must then be adapted according to the diagnosis.
About the methodology
The rating periods cover the last 12 months of the brand’s activity for the Web and Mobile Applications universes and the last 6 months for the social networks domain in order to eliminate any seasonal bias.
Depending on the weight decided by our team of analysts, each data point related to an indicator is transformed into a score between 0 and 100. Distribution is carried out using a range of Minimum and Maximum scores for this industry.
To obtain scores close to market reality, the indicators with the greatest impact were adjusted according to the number of customers of the respective brands. The number of clients was researched in the banks’ financial statements and annual reports or estimated by our analysts, taking into account the specific scope of retail banking and France’s geographical location.
In comparison with 2017, additional indicators were inserted in the analyses, notably on the themes of Cybersecurity, the use of mobile applications and consumer reviews on the web.