First direct CEO explains app shortcomings to customers

First direct CEO explains app shortcomings to customers

First Direct CEO Mark Mullen has taken the unusual - and for a bank, refreshing - step of appearing in a video to apologise for the quality of the bank's mobile apps and to promise improvements based on customer feedback.

First direct implemented two new mobile apps for Apple and Android just before Christmas.

In the video, Mullen say the bank has been "overwhelmed" by the number of customers who have downloaded the apps, but adds: "You've been very forthcoming in your feedback to us about what you like and, more importantly, what you don't like."

"I Just wanted to make sure that you understood that we were listening to what you were saying," he continues, "and to set some expectations about when things are going to change and what's going to change."

The improvements to the apps will be implemented over the next two months, including performance and user interface updates and more detailed account balance and card transaction data.

Mullen, a former social-media savvy former head of marketing at the UK online and telephone bank, took over the CEO role in September.

During his tenure at first direct Mullen set the path for the bank's acclaimed move into social media when it became the first to offer an open forum to customers.

The app redevelopment work is being run through the first direct Lab, where customers can view new ideas, test-drive applications and offer feedback for improvements.

Mullen concludes his broadcast with that rarest of traits in banking circles - an apology: "We made a judgement that we should get the new apps in the market as quickly as we can," he says. "I'm sorry they are not as good as they should be, but I can absolutely tell you we are listening to you and we're going to fix them and we're going to keep developing them throughout 2013."

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