Belgium's KBC Bank is offering customers the opportunity to chat with staff via a dedicated WhatsApp channel.
Within a week of the service going live, the bank had fielded 492 questions from customers around the world and dished out almost 2000 answers to questions dealing with common banking and insurance tasks.
The messaging app has been integrated into KBC's Live service, with bank agents open to questions on weekdays from 8am to 10pm and at weekends from 9am to 5pm. The consumer roll-out comes just a week after a similar service was introuced for business customers.
The bank is reporting soaring interest in KBC Live, selling 70000 non-life insurance policies and 3000 home loans via online and video chat during the course of 2017.
Karin van Hoecke, general manager of Mobile First at KBC, says: ‘Our customers have been able to chat with us for some time. WhatsApp is a very fast and easy to access chat app that’s already familiar and intuitive to many of our customers. We’re testing it first with our Dutch-speaking customers, before expanding to the other official languages in Belgium and English. We want to give our customers the ability to contact us in a variety of ways. From good-oldfashioned branch or insurance agency visits to contact through our website, mobile and touch apps or KBC Live for online banking, we want to be there for them. Messaging services like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp fit right in."
As part of its efforts to move more customers to cheaper-to-run online channels the bank has begun to run training courses for customers through its branch network. Operating under the banner of 'Digi Tuesday' the first session held last week attracted 800 participants across 50 KBC branches. The bank plans to offer approximately 600 courses throughout the year, showcasing its Web and mobile services and imparting new digital skills to over 10,000 customers.