Barclays bank has launched a 24-hour video banking service that will enable customers to receive face-to-face service from anywhere.
The Barclays Video Banking is available as an app for iOS and Android devices and as a plugin on desktops and laptops.
Barclays Premier account customers will be invited to do their annual account reviews from 8 December 2014. Mortgage, business and wealth customers will be able to use it early in 2015. It will eventually be available to all retail customers and it will automatically match customers with a member of staff they have spoken to before.
Steven Cooper, CEO of personal banking at Barclays said that, despite digital interaction becoming more popular, face-to-face communication is still important. “While many of our customers are increasingly using digital channels to complete routine transactions, for the important moments, you just can’t beat face-to-face conversations – yet traditional branch opening hours don’t always give customers that choice," he said.
“In addition to the availability of our staff in our branches, over the phone or online, we are combining our dedicated staff with digital technology to bring this facility to customers wherever they are and at a time they choose – putting them in control of when and where they do their banking.”
Read more about Barclays customer service IT
Nationwide pioneers video
Barclays is not the first UK financial services firm to introduce video-based customer interaction.
In April 2014 Nationwide Building Society completed the roll-out of video mortgage consultation equipment at more than 60 branches.
An initial trial of the technology in six Nationwide branches resulted in good feedback from customers. Mortgage consultants meet customers via high-definition video links using Cisco technology.
Customers can visit 60 branches where they can be connected to mortgage advisers at the company’s Northampton offices. The advisers offer the same mortgage service as is available in-branch. The high-definition video link and shared screen system provide an interactive display and a printer provides the paperwork.
Plummeting connectivity prices have made video a genuine business tool.
As a result of IT developments such as this increasingly taking care of day-to-day transactional services, banks are using people in different ways. In November 2014, Barclays bank began retraining 6,500 traditional branch staff to offer customers financial management services, and gave these staff an automatic annual pay rise of 2.8%.