Google Gets Deeper Into The Product Comparison Business

Google recently released a savings account comparison tool to go along with a similar tool launched last year for mortgages

In a June 2010 report, eBusiness Leaders: It's Time To Take Financial Service Comparison Web Sites Seriously, we showed that 26% of comparison site users were drawn to comparison tools because of advertisements and 22% came via an Internet search. The launch of Google’s savings account comparison tool will only increase the exposure of comparison tools and sites in the US and other markets (the tool became available in the UK in 2010), mostly because of its strong tie to the buying process and prowess as a search engine. 

Google’s comparison tool covers other retail banking products as well as mortgages, credit cards and checking accounts. The focus on personal finances instead of solely investment products — which for some US companies is a missed opportunity — increases the pressure on smaller firms like Bankrate.com or CreditCards.com, since it aggregates information for all key retail banking products and will likely benefit from greater exposure by virtue of being associated with Google.

The only major downside of Google’s tool is the lack of major players in the space like big traditional banks. This will be more an issue for less rate driven products like checking, where choice is based on factorsother than just interest rate.

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The Data Digest: How Do Consumers Respond To Bad Customer Service?

To assess the state of customer experience in 2011, Forrester asked more than 7,700 US consumers in our Technographics© survey about their interactions with a variety of companies. Based on their responses, we calculated Customer Experience Index (CxPi) scores for 154 brands in 13 industries (for a detailed explanation on how the index works, read this post).

The most important finding was that for almost two-thirds of the brands in our study, their customer experience ranges from just “OK” to “very poor”. In fact, 35% of scores fell into the undifferentiated “OK” range — our most heavily populated bracket and not a good place to be if you want your brand to stand out from competitors. Only 6% of firms ended up in the “excellent” category, down from 10% of the brands in last year’s report.

What this tells us is that mediocre-to-bad customer experience is the norm, and great customer experience is really hard to find. But why does this matter? Because the old adage “A customer who gets good service will tell one person, yet a customer who gets bad service will tell 10 people” is very true. Another Forrester study shows that about one in three financial customers with a bad experience tells her friends, about one in five recommends that her friends avoid that given company, and one in 10 reduces their value of her accounts.

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