With today’s highspeed, high-tech society; it is a necessity for businesses and commercial institutions to evolve with the ever-changing times and emerging technologies that are making our daily lives easier, more accessible and ever efficient. Thus, it is essential for financial institutions to be able to offer their customers; both new and old; quick, easy and informative access to their services in as efficient a manner as possible. As they say, “Time is Money” and no one likes either of them being wasted.
As such, we will be conducting a review of Muslim Commercial Bank’s, MCB, main website (mcb.com.pk) based on the following criteria:
- Design and User Interface
- User Experience and Usability
- Information Availability and Clarity
- Ability to Apply Online
In doing so we will be able to appraise MCB’s standing amongst its competitors.
Design and User Interface
The MCB Website has a very ‘cooling’ colour scheme with the abundance of blue creating a soothing sense of calm that allows customers to power through any difficulties they may face while seeking information regarding the bank’s various products and services, and the various green menu tabs and accents create a contrast that is appealing and not obtrusive nor do they distract from the information on the main body of the page.
The bank’s premier products and services are highlighted on the site’s homepage via a background slide show that leads to the relevant webpage detailing whatever product/service is being displayed. However, there are some slides that seemingly go nowhere and link right back to the homepage itself which can be confusing.
The website has both English and Urdu language options which allows the site to reach a much wider demographic. Unfortunately, the Urdu language option only translates the main and side menu tabs and is only available on the site’s homepage. Everything beyond the homepage reverts to English. This severely reduces the number of customers the website can truly reach and defeats the purpose of having an Urdu language option since service/product information is the focus of the website.
User Experience and Usability
Each page of the website is quick to load with very little delay and each link leads to its respective page with no redirection to erroneous pages. The information on each page is short and to the point. Along with the information regarding each product and service, there is also a “Product Toolkit” menu that provides links to additional information or a direct link to the “Become a Customer” page. However, not every product/service page has additional links and merely has a “Become a Customer” link. In addition, there are a few pages, such as the credit card page, where additional links are not in plain view and instead located on the left-hand side menu, outside the area of a person’s focus. In technical terms, it is considered Poor Human Computer Interaction. In addition to the links being on the left-hand menu, those same links should also be located within the main body of the page where the information is located, such as within the Product Toolkit. It helps make the system more efficient.
Information Availability and Clarity
The products and services detailed on the site all have short excerpts of information with links to further information located either in the “Product Toolkit” or on the menu listing located on the left of the page. There is very little consistency in terms of availability of information, on some pages; Deposit Accounts and Home Remittance; there is merely a bare bones description about the product or service; although there are some pages; Investment Services, MCB Internet Banking; that have a full detailed explanation of all services and charges regarding the product, on some; Consumer Loans, MCB Lite, Saving Deposit, Current Deposit, Self Service Channels; there are additional links for further information and on others; Smart Saving Account, Smart Business Account, Current Account, Current Life Account; there are merely a few bullet points listing key features without any further explanation and a statement at the end that states, “For details visit your nearest MCB Bank branch.”
While there are some pages that give full details regarding the product or service in question, many of the pages do not. In addition, while there are some pages that have additional links that give fully detailed information and explanations, there are several pages that have additional links that link to inadequate information.
For example, on the Classic/Gold Credit Card and Platinum Credit card pages; there is a link that takes the customer to a pdf document fully detailing the schedule of charges for MCB Visa Credit Cards. Conversely, the Schedule of Charges document for some of the account products is a scan of an internal memo with an excerpt of a revised Schedule of Charges showing only the changes made to the schedule without any further details or explanations. People do not like having to go out of their way to find the information they seek and the presence of a scanned document with inadequate information can be perceived as a lack of care regarding the customer experience.
Ability to Apply Online
The “Become a Customer” link on the website does not actually lead to a customer application form, but to a “Contact Us” form that is more general purpose, allowing customers to inquire about applying for products and services as well as lodge complaints or submit inquiries for customer/technical support. So technically, you cannot apply online, but rather submit a request for a call-back from a customer sales representative with no indication of within how much time the customer will be called let alone any further confirmation on whether the inquiry has been logged or not. While this might not seem like an inconvenience for the customer, it can be a potential issue for the bank. If all inquiries, complaints and support requests are collected on a single system, it is possible that some of the application requests can be lost amongst all the inquiries and requests. However, if there is a dedicated system for sorting and handling new applications, it can greatly increase customer turnover and reduces the risk of applications being lost in the system. In addition, if it is explicitly stated within how many hours a call-back will be made, it gives the customer an understanding that if the stated callback time has passed then something could have gone wrong with their application and they can potentially resubmit their application.