Barclays and Coutts are to enter a new era of financial advisory service with the roll-out of face-to-face video platforms to connect customers to banking experts from their mobile or desktop.
Available from the 8 December for Premier customers, the Barclays service will be introduced to mortgage, business and wealth customers from early 2015. It will then be made available to all retail customers, automatically matching customers to a specific member of staff they have spoken to previously, if available.
The introduction of Barclays Video Banking in the UK follows on from the success of video technology available in a number of UK branches, as well as Sign Video, where customers who use British Sign Language can speak to an interpreter through video to communicate with advisors.
Steven Cooper, CEO, personal banking, Barclays says: “This is a watershed moment for the way people do their banking in the UK - where we will finally be able to interact with customers completely on their terms, rather than ours."
The bank has invested millions of pounds in the roll-out of the technology, which will be available via an app for all iOS and Android devices and as a downloadable plug-in for laptop and PC users.
Says Cooper: “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."
UK private bank Coutts has worked with Silicon Valley-based communication outfit TokBox to launch a similar scheme. Customers will be able to speak to several advisors from across the bank simultaneously and also invite other parties such as joint-account holders additional account signatories or external professionals to join.
The pilot will initially be launched with a small group of customers and their relationship advisers. If successful, it will be rolled out to all 72,000 customers of Coutts in due course, says the bank.