HSBC Discovers The Wrath of Poor Customer Contact

In Customer Experience, Featured on App, Loyalty & CRM by Vaughn Highfield

HSBC, Customers, Money, Loyalty, Care, banking, security

HSBC stopped customers withdrawing large sums of money, angering its customers in the process

HSBC, the global bank,  has been stopping customers from making large withdrawals from their own bank accounts and in the process raised questions on who’s money it really is. The news comes on the back of a BBC report from listeners of its BBC Radio 4 ‘Money Box’ programme complaining about their experiences with the international bank.

The issue at hand came when customers who were taking out more than £3,000 in cash were refused the right to do so unless they provided some sort of proof that the money was needed. Obviously this is in the interests of banking security and account safety, but at the same time it’s an utterly absurd measure when the money and account belongs to the certified account holder. After all, who is the bank to judge the decisions of those who banks with it?

Interestingly, some customers who gave warning to HSBC that they would be withdrawing a large amount were still nannied by the bank over what it was being used for, and wanting proof of its need too.

While HSBC has now apologised for the issue (which was down to a policy change in November), and has pulled the measure for evidence for the need for withdrawal, the problem could have all been solved with some old-fashioned customer contact.

It’s a shame, then, that this was not the path that HSBC opted for. Instead, upon being asked why no warning about this policy change was given, HSBC just responded by saying that “as this was not a change to the Terms and Conditions of your bank account, we had no need to pre-notify customers of the change,” the BBC reports. Naturally, that’s not an excuse at all.

The legal requirements to inform customers may not have been there, but for a policy change that will affect how customers do business with you certainly does. What’s happened to common courtesy and keeping your customers informed of what’s going on, especially when it has a bearing over their own finances.

HSBC could have avoided the controversy and the entire issue by just informing their customers about the change from the outset.

If anything, this situation shows that customer contact and conversation is crucial to the modern marketplace.

What’s your take on all of this? Should HSBC have just gone by the legal book and said nothing at all?


[Image: OliBlob – Flickr]