Are UK Retail Banks Anti-Social?

Twitter storm erupts as HSBC, RBS and Natwest systems fail affecting millions of customers.

Friday 04th – HSBC cash machines, branches, debit cards, and internet banking services all stopped working at 2.45pm after a computer glitch.  The outage lasted more than two hours, with frantic HSBC staff finally finding a fix at 4.50pm.

Worried customers vented their frustration saying they could not withdraw money from HSBC cash machines (ATMs) and their cards had been declined in shops (POS).  In addition, four million internet banking customers of HSBC and First Direct were unable to view their money online or via their smartphones.

Related Twitter Accounts – @hsbc_uk_press and  @HSBC_UK_Online

Saturday 05th – RBS and NatWest customers have been unable to check accounts online all day because of problems caused by overnight maintenance work between 01:00 and 03:00 am.  Problems arose after the maintenance work went wrong and meant account balances have not been credited overnight.  There have also been problems for some customers making withdrawals from cash machines.

#Natwest. Now would be a really good time to get on Twitter and reassure and interact with your customers.

In these two major incidents both HSBC and RBS (Natwest) failed to recognise the extent of customer impact.  By using TweetDeck to monitor social media mentions or by setting up searches related to keywords the Banks should have been instantly aware that there was a major incident.

Moreover it could be perceived that they are anti-social in that they did not provide regular updates to their customers via their twitter accounts or corporate websites.  Maintaining radio silence is not an option any more and social media must be adopted to interact effectively with customers by responding immediately.

What happens when word of mouth goes Digital?

To what extent will customers lose trust in their bank and decide to switch their accounts?

In a world moving rapidly towards mobile payments via near field communications and readers, it is ironic that in the event of any more Bank failures that “Cash is King”.

Finally, it is important to note that the Oracle European Confidence Report last year highlighted that fragmented systems and processes hinder financial institutions and that the bottom line is affected by inflexible systems.

Both Banks provided the same old same old platitudes – Mainframe / Server outage and Maintenance Work.  Yawn.

This is how convergence will look like in 2015

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