What your customers DON’T want in a website

Thinking about revamping your community bank’s website? Here are the features that turn off customers… and how you can avoid them.

By Prabhash Shrestha and Jana Jurukovska

1 An impersonal, corporate look and feel
When a customer enters your bank, they are greeted with a smiling face and warm handshake. Your website should exude that same warm feeling, telling your community bank’s story and showcasing what it does using the same tone in which you’d greet a real-life customer.

2 Looooong load times
In this time of instant gratification, slow websites can see off customers in droves. According to recent Akamai research, 28 percent of customers won’t return to a slow website, and a two-second delay correlated with up to a 51 percent decrease in time spent on the site. Google also penalizes slow-loading websites by ranking them lower in search results, meaning potential new customers might not even know you’re there. Ask your web developer how to get your site moving more quickly.

3 Inaccessible information
If customers’ access to their transactions, history or statements is limited, missing, blocked or aggregated in a way that is not searchable or sortable, it is frustrating. If limited space is a challenge, give your customers at least three years of history, along with clear instructions on how they can get what they need if it’s not on the website.

4 A labyrinthine structure
Keep your main menu, or top navigation, short and concise. Studies have shown that people cannot handle more than seven choices at a time very well. That number shrinks to three when they’re in crisis mode (which is why 911 is three digits). Sub-navigation that pops up when a customer hovers over a menu item on a website allows your customer to see what is underneath each category without having to click.

5 A site that doesn’t look good on a smartphone
Mobile, mobile, mobile. According to Statista, people of all ages are using mobile banking in increasing numbers (see table, opposite). Having a mobile-friendly app or website is like having a 24/7 branch within arm’s reach of your customer. Mobile banking customers’ most frequent actions include monitoring their accounts, making transfers and checking transactions or loan payments, so make sure those functions are optimized for mobile if your community bank doesn’t have an app.

6 Log in not once, but twice!
Even if your loan department is separate from consumer banking and from the investment branch, with separate databases and staff members, your customers see your bank as a single entity. As such, they expect a single login. If your customers can’t register, sign up for services or conduct transactions easily across their accounts, they may simply move on to the competition.

7 A design straight from 1996
Apple and fintech startups do it well: Their designs are clean, modern and uncluttered. Chooss unfussy fonts (no Comic Sans, please!), add white space and use flat, not “3D,” icons and designs. Forget the drop shadows and avoid annoying popups and bright, flashy colors.

8 A lack of functionality
Simple transactions—transferring funds, updating account information, paying a bill or loan, even cashing a check—should be able to be done online. If customers do want to contact an employee, turn on live chat functionality so they can instant message with your staff, and include your contact information in the header or footer of every page. Hyperlink your phone number so customers can easily call from their mobile devices.

9 Arduous security features
A customer wants security above all else, but they don’t want a clunky validation process. Fingerprint-recognition technology and multifactor authentication (such as a code being sent to the customer’s mobile device or email address) are great ways to provide security conveniently.

10 A wall of text
An endless scrolling wall of text is a real turnoff, especially on a mobile device. Avoid long pages of text, unnecessarily complicated terminology and dry content, as it can leave your customers’ eyes sore. Instead, use clean fonts and meaningful titles to draw your customer’s eyes to the information that matters most. Breaking up text helps your customers feel less stress when going through terms and conditions or key information about their loans or bank policies. Be positive, friendly and to the point, just like you would if you were speaking with your customer in person.


Prabhash Shrestha (prabhash.shrestha@icba.org) is executive vice president and chief digital strategy officer at ICBA.

Jana Jurukovska (jana.jurukovska@icba.org) is ICBA’s vice president, marketing, and creative director.