The process of undertaking a major IT system upgrade for any large company or public-facing organisation is always fraught with danger.
But when TSB told 1.9 million customers last Friday that they would be unable to access their online accounts until Sunday evening due to a scheduled upgrade, it had all the ingredients of a PR disaster and reputational crisis rolled into one from the outset.
By Tuesday, irate customers were still unable to access their money due to the bungled upgrade and the bank’s social media accounts and staff in high street branches were inundated with complaints.
Our mobile banking app and online banking are now up and running. Thank you for your patience and for bearing with us.— Paul Pester (@PaulPester) April 25, 2018
@TSB I get married in 10 days, so I’m sure you can imagine I have a lot to pay for. My money is in a savings account which I can’t access! I don’t have telephone banking set up, so they won’t be able to help and I work in a rural location with no branch. #bridezilla #TSBFAIL— Lorna McHale (@LornaMcHale1) April 25, 2018
By Wednesday evening, Pester had to backtrack, admitting that only 50% of customers could access internet banking.
Then, in a statement from the bank, Pester said:
"As we moved over to our new banking platform last weekend, the landing was an incredibly bumpy one for our customers, and for that I am truly sorry. This is not the level of service that we pride ourselves on providing – nor is it what our customers have come to expect from TSB.
"Customers can rest assured that no one will be left out of pocket as a result of these problems. To begin to put things right, we will be waiving all overdraft fees and interest charges for all of our retail and small business customers for April."
However, he followed up by saying he had now taken personal control, and that a team of experts from IBM were landing at Bristol at 8am this morning to address the problem.
The result of either could see the bank face further negative headlines in the near future.
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