first direct Lab
Skip menus

Online banking with chemistry

20 Feb 2012

first direct upgrades its website giving it a more community feel

first direct has relaunched its customer website,, following a complete redesign to reflect the changing nature of how its customers communicate with the bank. 

first direct is often viewed as the benchmark for offering great customer experiences over the phone and the new website is part of the bank's initiative to replicate the positive conversations digitally.

As well as traditional customer research methods, in an unconventional move, the direct bank also used its highly successful beta testing site, firstdirectLab, to gather the thoughts and opinions of the public on how its website could be improved.  From this invaluable insight first direct designed a phased approach to implementing the suggested changes.

Stage one improvements include:

  • New look and feel and improved search functionality making the site easier to navigate
  • New tools and guides area dedicated to helping people help themselves with financial decisions such as loan amounts or mortgage affordability
  • Share functionality, to help connect the site with the social world
  • Mortgage guides for first time buyers, remortgagers and home movers to provide support for people in what can be a daunting and complex area
  • Brand area to connect the public with what makes first direct tick
  • Information on first direct 's communities and social networks to let people know how they can engage with first direct safely on their social media sites
  • Corporate Social Leadership (CSR) events calendar to give customers the opportunity to get involved with charitable events 


Natalie Cowen, Head of Brand at first direct commented: 

"We wanted to create a space for our customers to take online banking beyond a purely transactional relationship and create more of a first direct community, in short, creating 'online banking with chemistry'. 

"This is the first wave in a series of changes over the coming months.  We plan to keep improving the site by introducing more tools, self-service functionality and by further integrating with our social media channels.  We also had a lot of constructive feedback on the Internet Banking section of the site, so we'll be looking at how we can make improvements there too."




For further information please contact Rebecca Hirst on 0113 276 6899, or Amanda Brown on 0113 276 6700, 


Notes to Editors  

For the latest updates, visit the first direct Newsroom or follow us on Twitter

first direct facts

  • Winner of the Which? Best Financial Provider award 2 years running
  • Ranked first in the Retail Banking Satisfaction Study by J D Power & Associates for two years running
  • first direct has 1.16 million customers
  • 950,000 of them use Internet Banking
  • 420,000 customers use SMS message banking. first direct sends around 3.5 million text messages to customers every month
  • first direct employs 3,200 people in 2,700 FTE roles at two sites, in Leeds and Hamilton (near Glasgow)
  • 44% of first direct 's sales are via e-channels
  • more than 1 in 4 of first direct 's customers join because of personal recommendation
  • over 89% of customer contact with first direct is electronic
  • first direct handles around 135,000 telephone calls every week
  • first direct takes over 54,000 calls (40%) outside working hours each week (Monday to Friday 08:00 - 18:00)
  • first direct takes over 1,700 calls a day from abroad
  • first direct has been in profit every year since 1995
  • first direct is a wholly owned subsidiary of HSBC Holdings Plc

first direct provides both telephone banking and online banking services to its 1.2m customers.  It offers a full range of personal banking products including its award winning Current Account and offset mortgages.

Share this (opens in a new window)

You may also be interested in …

The social customer expects to engage online and not sit in a call centre queue Social companies are empowering their staff to interact with customers online Social customers can help companies increase their profitsĀ  The modern social customer has little time or respect for traditional company structures and expects to interact with brands on their own...

Share this (opens in a new window)

The first direct Future of Banking: Social Customer Service event brought together key figures from the Financial Services and social business industries on Valentine's day to discuss the changing face of customer service in a socially-enabled world. At HSBC HQ, perhaps not the most romantic of Valentine's settings, 6 panellists...

Share this (opens in a new window)