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Websites failing to meet users&#39 needs

Consumers are being let down by financial services websites, according to research.

The survey, by the Round Consultancy, found only six of the 50 companies it surveyed offered a satisfactory online customer service.

The consultancy logged on to 50 financial services websites to find users had a 14 per cent chance of being denied access to the site. Nearly 60 per cent of sites had no map to assist navigation.

Just over 75 per cent of sites failed to provide any obvious help with frequently asked questions.

Of the site operators which offered an email response ser-vice, 42 per cent failed to get back to the user within 48 hours and Round claims only 50 per cent responded at all.

The consultancy claims consumers go online for fast and easy-to-find information and advice on personal finance but find they are wasting their time or, in some cases, websites are simply providing information from their brochures.

Chief operating officer Jamie Clyde says: “Consumers have been led to believe they will find a one-stop shop for easy-to-find information and advice. They also believe the internet allows for immediate communication and answers. Unfortunately, a lot of providers do not take this on board.”

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