Lloyds pauses live agents "because covid"

Web and app contact methods have basically been scrapped, it seems

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How illogical. The two most easily implemented methods for adapting to a remote working pandemic world, and they scrap them? As opposed to call centres and branch staff?


I wonder if it has anything to do with security and how home working staff connect to the Lloyds Bank systems?

My Wife works permanently from home and she uses all sorts of encrypted equipment. I would hope that banking staff working from home would also use secure encrypted equipment, but who knows. At the end of the day, everything is still going through our home router, albeit it isn’t a generic ISP provided one but one I have some element of control over.

It does seem to me though, that many sectors have really kicked the arse out of using Covid as an excuse for many things and I’ve had several heated exchanges on the phone and web chat with companies that persistently claim that Covid is causing them issues. Quite frankly, I just don’t believe many of them any more.


Maybe, if their IT is terrible.

But encrypting the laptop with something like Bitlocker and forcing all traffic over a corporate VPN is more than enough security really, and it’s fairly simple to set up. DirectAccess force tunnelling would be even better, as it would auto-connect at boot.

You can also fairly easily use Group Policy to disable USB ports, etc so that nobody can copy any data off the company laptop.

You can never quite protect against somebody writing the information down, but that’s why one bank employee never receives a whole password (only characters of it).

Most queries on the chat function would be the sort of thing that would take pressure off the phone service, non-urgent but fairly routine things where it makes sense not to call. You would think they’d want that!

And Bank of Scotland is the only brand where it’s still available?

It’s all very weird.


COVID is no excuse for bad service and companies are using it as an easy cop out for poor customer service. Zilch is a prime example of this. I was actually told by their complaint agent that ‘‘COVID has caused an unprecedented amount of new customers join over the past year which has had a knock on effect in terms of how quickly they can communicate with customers and the quality of the conversation’’ ! :roll_eyes: :roll_eyes:


I agree, and similarly don’t believe a word of it. R-


It’s about redeploying staff to the phones. We have had to do the same with my employer. Its a reflection of the customer base not the tech.

It’s temporary for goodness sake.

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On the off-chance I just initiated a web chat, in-app.

The Assistant responded to my “Human” request with “advisors not available at the moment”. I was given the “Call us” link - so I did.

Given a 20 minute suggested wait time and offered a call-back, I took that option and spoke to a chap within the 20 minutes.

So………… not sure how much of this is a thing. Certainly not anything sinister, methinks.

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Given how terrible their chat was when I tried to use it, I don’t think it’s much of a loss.

If you can schedule a real life person to give you a call, that’s far better!

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That schedule feature is nice, and avoids having to sit there for 20 minutes listening to a loop of hold music, but it’s still not as efficient as a messaging service if you ask me.

I like to be able to type out my query in my own time, then do something else while I wait for a response. The trouble with a call-back is you have to wait until you get the call before you can start the process of explaining your query. Inevitably, they then say they have to go off and check something so you end up waiting on hold anyway while they do.

I do understand how elderly/“traditional” customers might be more used to this but when you have got used to chat and messaging it’s a real shame when it gets taken away.

Luckily, though, Lloyds accounts generally seem to “chug along” without issue for me so I am unlikely to need to contact them anyway. They don’t seem to have the kind of IT issues and profile oddities you sometimes get at, say, a bank like TSB.

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Personally, I mostly prefer actually calling these days (assuming no/little wait times). (and I’m definitely not elderly :face_with_raised_eyebrow: )

I find it’s usually overall quicker, than sending messages back and forth.

But I seem to be in a shrinking minority…

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The reality is that ‘temporary’ is open ended. It could be a few more weeks, months or even years.

My Wife is now permanently contracted to work from home. She used to work in a very busy office environment but actually, she’s now performing better than when she had a load of colleagues around her and she manages her time and work/life balance incredibly well.

I’ll go back to my earlier statement on Covid because it’s my genuine belief that it is being used as an excuse, to palm folks off with piss poor service.


I don’t disagree with you that it may be overall quicker to call, but you can’t really do much whilst waiting on hold (whereas you can when waiting for a messaging reply). This means that time wasted on the task is lessened; even if it actually takes longer it is in “chunks”.

It’s also possible to message on your phone anywhere, including where you wouldn’t want to take a call because of privacy issues, etc.

For urgent issues, I agree that the option to call is important.

It’s good to have both! :+1:

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The problem for me with phone wait times is “how long is a piece of string”. As there are no visual queues a person is left in a persistent state of “any minute now”.

The whole phone system is like doing exercise planks. 60 Seconds seems like forever.

The COVID excuse is entirely valid. We have been hammered. Customer behaviour changed overnight. More than double the customer base has switched to digital banking. At the same time staff numbers are down overall then smack that all with an insane increase in fraud.

It’s been a small miracle things have held together as well as they have.

Most bank staff had no time off over COVID and from the very beginning taking significant amounts of abuse.

People want free bank accounts, with a premium service provided at a moments notice. It’s not realistic at the best of times but especially not these days.

However I would say resource planning has been pure pants with my employer. We’ve been dealing with this COVID situation for so long now and they are dragging their heals on getting more staff as though it will sort itself out eventually.

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I’ll call if it’s something more complex as then it’s much easier to explain the nuances.


Exactly, it’s this part of it that I hate.
It actually makes me slightly anxious, with the need to be ready to say “Hello, my issue is…” at any time.

Also the horrible “false start” that lots of businesses seem to have where the hold music peters out before restarting, making you think for a split-second that someone has picked up at the other end.

I can imagine, and that’s just not on. No matter how frustrated I am I always try to be polite to whoever I’m speaking to. After all, whatever the issue is, they weren’t the ones that caused it.

It’s also basic human politeness that you should be nice to others if you want them to be nice back, so I try to apply that.

Just because someone works in customer service, some people think they have a right to treat them as sub-human and it’s awful.


I just wanted to move some of my credit from an older card to my new cashback credit card - just as they suggest during the application.

I don’t use the phone except in an emergency. I don’t accept calls full stop. I’m not even going to try and sort out my credit cards now.

It’s also a very silly way to manage the issue. I went through all the virtual agent rigmarole, then the message doesn’t make it clear agents are not available at all - it just cuts you off and asks for feedback. And now they’ve spent time handling my complaint…

I get that covid has messed everything up, but I don’t see why it would make live agents impossible. If anything, a streamlined asynchronous messaging system should take a lot of the load off peak times etc - because you’d expect almost all messages to be non urgent. I don’t get it


This is a good idea, and probably the best way to avoid scams.

If they really do need to contact you, they will try multiple channels anyway.

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You see what you’ve done there is thought way too logically.

Phone calls are much faster for most issues believe it or not. I’d prefer all options open but with they mad demand as it is the have to put people on the phones first.


I have to admit from my own experience yesterday with BT, it’s not all doom and gloom on the phones front. My FTTP ONT box went Tango Uniform yesterday morning. Done a bit of a temporary fix to get it working again, but I phoned BT at 17.50 yesterday evening and they’ve organised an engineer to come tomorrow morning to replace the faulty equipment. As long as the engineer does actually turn up, it will have been a very quick resolution and all done by phone.

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