HSBC Bank saves by opening up the e-mail channel

A wholly-owned subsidiary of HSBC Holdings, HSBC Bank is one of the world's largest banking and financial services organisations....

A wholly-owned subsidiary of HSBC Holdings, HSBC Bank is one of the world's largest banking and financial services organisations. It has 6,500 offices in 78 countries and territories

The problem
In 1999, HSBC in the UK offered customers digital TV banking, followed by the launch of Internet banking in 2000. It needed to provide support for customers accessing those services. A major concern was that any sensitive customer information sent out by automated processes would be kept secure.

Company requirement
HSBC wanted a solution that would make it easy for customers to provide feedback on services, directing enquiries to its e-mail-based customer support channel and help to manage the stream of incoming support questions. It would have to automate responses to the high volume of customer enquiries and integrate with existing databases. A high degree of precision was required to ensure the correctly categorised e-mail responses were sent out.

With its extensive geographic coverage, the bank also wanted a solution that would include a global roll-out that could be translated across all languages.

The solution
HSBC picked Amacis to provide support and implemented its Visibility e-mail management tool and Text Analyser to automate e-mail responses as much as possible. A content analysis engine forms the core of the Visibility package. This can categorise unstructured messages, route them to the most appropriate person within the bank and suggest a pre-formatted response. Web forms have been developed to address technical support issues and enable Internet banking customers to report feedback. HSBC has also expanded its e-mail support to specific business units looking for effective ways to interact with customers, other than traditional paper and fax channels.

The result
After monitoring the system for a year, HSBC says it has enjoyed considerable savings as a result of opening the e-mail channel and processing customer enquiries more quickly. Many customers now contact the bank through e-mail, rather than telephone, send fewer letters in the post and visit branch offices less often, all of which frees up HSBC representatives' time.

The amount of time spent resolving technical support queries has also fallen: whereas it used to take HSBC support agents an average of 15 minutes on the telephone to solve a detailed technical support query, it now takes Amacis 10-12 minutes to resolve any new problems that crop up. Once Amacis is trained to understand a problem, that resolution time drops to three minutes.
This was last published in October 2003

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