Online bank First Direct last week had to draft in extra customer support staff from its owner, HSBC, to cope with high call volumes when some customers encountered problems after their accounts were migrated to a new online system.
Some users were locked out of their accounts because their browser settings were incompatible with the system. Service desk staff had to talk thousands of callers through the steps they needed to take to update their browser.
Jonathan Etheridge, head of e-futures at First Direct, said the move to the new platform was part of HSBC Group's programme to standardise its global e-commerce products on a single bespoke platform, developed in-house on IBM Websphere technology.
"Within five days of the system going live, we migrated around half our internet customers on to it," he said. "We had some issues with call volumes and drafted in staff from different parts of HSBC."
Etheridge said the platform gave customers additional functionality and offered an improved business development environment for controlling workflow and release management.
This would allow technically competent business managers to introduce customer programmes in hours rather than days, he added.
"The system has been live in Hong Kong for some time and it will eventually be rolled out to all HSBC brands worldwide," said Etheridge.
"Each brand will have its own look and feel, but the technology will be the same."
In the UK, HSBC's own internet banking service will move onto the platform later this year, although it will not offer the same features as First Direct, Etheridge said.
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