HSBC has introduced the ability for some clients to contact their customer service in a fashion akin to texting as the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic leads banks to embrace new ways of communicating with their clients with many retail branches closed and phone lines tied up.
HSBC Bank USA announced Monday the launch of its Apple Business Chat channel, which arms its customers with the ability to message the bank’s customer service center directly via Apple devices without any need to download additional applications. The London-based bank is also rolling out the new communication method in the U.K.
The launch of this channel “serves to ease these burdens and gives retail customers the flexibility and security to perform day-to-day banking transactions over messaging, including moving money, managing checking and savings accounts, handling credit card transactions and receiving other digital banking assistance,” according to the bank’s announcement.
“Many of our customers, including those who prefer phone or other means of communication, are finding this new channel very easy to use as they stay close to their money, even while social distancing,” said Katie Jenkins, head of direct banking at HSBC. “Using Apple Business Chat creates an easy, secure connection to our service center, where clients dip in and out of the conversation at their own pace and avoid call wait times.”
HSBC customers can use this service to begin conversations at their convenience, pausing it when necessary and picking up on their own terms, the bank said.
Clients concerned about sending sensitive financial information via this chat service can rest easy –Apple states that all of its Business Chats are encrypted, and that Apple doesn’t read any of the content of these chats. Some information about these chats themselves, such as how many messages were sent and how long it took to complete, may be held by Apple for troubleshooting purposes.
HSBC has partnered with LivePerson to facilitate the rollout of the Apple Business Chat program, making use of LivePerson’s Conventional Cloud Platform to do so. The service also makes use of Apple’s “Chat Suggest” function, which presents the opportunity to start a Business Chat conversation when a customer moves to call the bank. If the customer opts to use Business Chat instead of a phone call, it will automatically open a chat with an HSBC agent in the Messages app.
The introduction of HSBC’s Business Chat channel is simply the next step in the evolution of digital banking, according to Marcos Meneguzzi, HSBC’s head of digital and unsecured lending.
“This latest innovation using Apple Business Chat to message directly with customers on their Apple devices complements our mobile banking with a low-friction way to provide extra help for our customers when they need it,” Meneguzzi said. “During this difficult time, it’s important for us to give our customers even more choices on how to bank where and when they choose.”
Apple Business Chat is only available for customers who use Apple devices, including iPhones, iPads and Macbooks, and requires iOS 11.3 or higher.