Financial Services Customers Warmed by E-mail

Internet users who have opted in to receive regular e-mail from a business derive more satisfaction from the relationship than those who do not, according to a new consumer poll from e-mail firm Bigfoot Interactive.

Bigfoot reported 94 percent of Web users receiving account services e-mail from a credit card issuer express overall satisfaction with the company, compared to 89 percent of general respondents. The poll was the first in a series of polls Bigfoot plans to conduct to look at e-mail and the consumer experience in several industry verticals.

The financial services poll also found 78 percent of consumers who opted in to receive e-mail from a credit card issuer were likely to recommend the issuer to others, compared with 69 percent of general respondents. And they were 25 percent more likely to buy additional products from the company.

Findings from the study, which was conducted by NOP World Research, are based on a poll of 483 adults with Internet access at home and 282 adults who indicated they personally own a credit card. Users polled receive service messaging, marketing communications and newsletters.

While the poll results make clear the recipients of financial services-related e-mail demonstrate greater loyalty than non-recipients, it’s not clear whether that loyalty is driven by e-mail. It is also possible these customers opted in for e-mail communications because of a pre-existing satisfaction with their financial institution.

Bigfoot CEO Al DiGuido said even in cases where consumer satisfaction pre-dates the e-mail relationship, the channel deepens loyalty and brand interaction.

“If I build a relationship based on trust and then begin to suggest other services and up-selling opportunities to consumers, and they say yes, that suggests not only that they’re loyal, but also interested and active with the brand,” said DiGuido.

The poll also found that many users are concerned about the growing issue of false positives — e-mail caught erroneously in spam filters.

Four in ten respondents who receive e-mail expressed concern that e-mail from their credit card issuer is being caught in spam filters, and 47 percent said they would consider switching their ISP or e-mail service provider if they do not receive critical e-mail communications from their primary credit card issuer.

DiGuido said the study highlights “the need for ISPs and e-mail service providers to ensure delivery of such highly-regarded and anticipated messaging.”

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