November 23, 2006

Financial Service Europe - HSBC self-service kiosk going to rollout

HSBC test in 20 banks in the U.K. has positive results for customers and for the bank.

HSBC system prunes branch waiting times

Electronic queueing system cuts waiting times
Lara Williams, Computing 16 Nov 2006

Banking giant HSBC expects to cut customer waiting times in its busiest branches by 20 per cent following the successful pilot of an electronic queuing system.

The system, tested in 20 branches over three months, reduced waiting times by a fifth by directing customers to the staff member best qualified to deal with their inquiry.

The Matchmaker electronic queueing system developed by Qm Group, allows customers to request specific services such as mortgages, pensions or savings advice on a touch screen.

The screen displays the allocated waiting time and an adviser prints an acknowledgement slip while the relevant staff member is alerted by pager.

Richard Newland, head of

retail design at HSBC, says the system gives managers more control because it can be programmed at the beginning of the day to assign various duties to specific staff members.

‘If a member of a staff goes on a course, the manager can re-program the system details in real-time,’ said Newland.

The technology will initially be implemented in 100 of HSBC’s 1,600 UK branches, and is likely to be extended to 400.

Matchmaker runs on a standard Windows operating system. The customer service point kiosk contains a ticket printer and a PC that links to the bank network. A database of staff details sits in the core program on the server and links to the kiosk.

Newland says the system is very cost-effective, although savings were not the primary driver of the project.

‘You only need to see a small percentage uplift in sales conversions to make the system pay for itself over a 12-month period,’ said Newland.

Forrester Research analyst Benjamin Ensor believes self-service technology is a strong theme in most UK banks.

‘It is very hard to sell complex life insurance or pensions online because people want to talk to someone in a branch before they buy them,’ he said.

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Posted by staff at November 23, 2006 09:05 AM