May 2017 – Reviewing Interactive Private Site Help

​Interactive private site help allows account holders to manage their online banking quickly and confidently. To help users make the most of their private site visits, firms should offer ready access to helpful customer service through multiple channels, including live chat, dedicated message centers and virtual assistant chat bots. Account holders can avoid long wait times by sending private site messages to inquire about the location of certain information and tools on the private site and submit non-emergency questions. And firms benefit from offering online chat as this immediate, real-time access to a firm representative provides a quick way for account holders to reach out to their bank, without having to endure long wait-times or devote their full attention to representatives over the phone.

Of the 19 firms in the Bank Monitor coverage group, 18 offer a secure message center, eight provide private site live chat, and one—Citibank—offers a virtual assistant. Only 15 (79%) banks allow account holders to send private site messages and firms do not typically provide a unified interface for the secure message centers, something we valued highly in this report. Six of the eight firms offering private site live chat utilize the same third-party provider, and only two firms provide chat session record-keeping options aside from printing. Virtual assistant chat bots, while rare, will become increasingly important in providing a combination of contextual and interactive site help.