Supporting our customers as we grow



In the past six months to June 2018 we’ve grown by a monthly average of 20%, so we’re rapidly increasing our customer service team, reviewing our processes and improving our technology to make getting the help you need as quick and easy as possible. :speech_balloon:

Read the original blog post:

Improving the Customer Service Experience
Customer Service Feedback
Customer Service & Root Cause Analysis
Improving the Customer Service Experience

Nice one, Customer Service sure is growing rapidly at 81 strong. Cheers for mentioning the “Gurus” appreciate that. Seriously impressive growth as well :raised_hands:t2:


Wow. I mean, just wow. This is unbelievable…

…as to how terrible it is.

I’m not saying that the things mentioned in the post are bad. The support screen overhaul, the increasing numbers of customer support staff, and the introduction of tutorial videos are all great and welcome.

The post otherwise contains nothing but fluff. I will come back and do a statistical breakdown of how much of the post is fluff but right now I want to get my words out.

Edit: Of 981 words, I highlighted those that contained new information to address customer service. I highlighted 217 words. By my maths, and I don’t work in a bank so I may be wrong, that means just over 22% of the post contained new information about customer service. The rest was fluff, things we already knew (such as the contact methods for CS), or talk about the forum which seemed irrelevant. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have been in the post, it’s nice to know and nice to read, but the point is that there should have been way more of substance in there.

We were told in my thread on root cause analysis that the blog post would talk about ‘how we plan to scale and improve the customer service we provide.’. I’ve seen the scale. You got that out in a few sentences. But you have said nothing on improving, and nothing on root cause analysis, and nothing to address the core issues which reach beyond just the ability to contact customer support (recall: the card fraud fiasco).

Where’s your breakdown of what went wrong when support staff blame customers / their own banks / anything but Starling? Where’s your breakdown of how that unfriendly card fraud message was created and approved?

We see in the blog post that Starling support staff ‘spend two weeks doing intensive training’. The point I was trying to make in my thread was that this training, in practice, doesn’t always work. There has to be something wrong with it in order for it to produce the issues that we have seen posted all over this forum. Why doesn’t the blog post address that?

This blog post doesn’t even tell us that you’re doing any root cause analysis, let alone giving us an example.

I expected better. I’m sorry if I come across as a bit harsh, I don’t want you too focus on that. I want you to focus on what it is I expected, and what it is you delivered, and I want you to see and understand how the two are nowhere near the same.


I do think that, although the positives highlighted in the blog post are great, there should have been more to address the numerous negative posts on here regarding CS.

There’s lots of anecdotal evidence to suggest that there is something lacking when it comes to the service that some people have received. Whether this is down to training, attitude, communication skills or something else, I don’t know.

It would be reassuring to hear what is being done or what is planned for the future to bring the support levels up. If there’s an underlying problem, throwing more support staff at it won’t fix it.


Hi @sheza

Your feedback is certainly welcomed. We’re sorry that the blog post came across as misdirected, as with all our blog posts, this was written for a wider audience and that’s why we’ve confirmed some parts that you’re already aware of and not covered every detail raised here.

Rest assured, we have heard your comments and would like to reassure you that over the next few months you’ll see a range of improvements as we continue to review our processes and get new solutions in to place.

For example, as mentioned in the blog, we’ve looked into our training process and found ways that we can overhaul it to provide a better experience for our customers like you say. Maybe we should have highlighted this more? We’ve also been reviewing our Tone of Voice and this is being finalised internally as we speak.

There’s plenty to come, but some of it will take a little longer. The most important factor is that we build a friendly and knowledgeable team and as you have stated, this goes beyond training. Building an experienced team will take us time but we are focussed on delivering a service that matches our vision and that of our customers.

We’re hoping to put this blog out in our next email newsletter. With more people understanding how to find answers or reach out to us quickly, everything should be a lot more efficient.

As with most things, it’s a work in progress! :slight_smile:


Thanks James - I think this highlights the difficulty with an online community forum to be frank.

The blog was clearly geared for a wide audience, 99% of whom don’t read the forum.

For those people, it was nice and informative, and it came across well.

I almost think that if you want to get the most of the forum, you might need to tailor some communication to the avid readers on here - Possibly go into a little more detail about certain things, and leave out some of the “bumf” that followers of Starling will already know.

By doing this, you’ll invigorate the users who are active on the forums, and who contribute more than anyone else to the bugs/ideas of Starling, and you’ll still be able to send out something more generic for wider circulation.



Yeah - I absolutely agree.

In fact, I’ve set myself a project for my last 7 weeks here at Starling to share more in terms of upcoming features and news on the Community.

I know we can’t share everything related to this topic in particular, but I understand your point.


I understand that your blog posts are intended for a wider audience. I just wonder, then, why you seemed to oversell it to us on the forum? I was looking forward to this blog post as being a big explainer. I didn’t necessarily think it was going to be one of those mass-public-appeal posts. As an example of your over-selling, you locked my thread, seemingly satisfied that the blog post would deal with the issues appropriately. Now you’re saying it wasn’t intended to deal with those issues. I find that a little contradictory.

For example, as mentioned in the blog, we’ve looked into our training process and found ways that we can overhaul it to provide a better experience for our customers like you say.

Hey Siri, search the Starling blog post for mentions of training processes.

I found the following results:
1. "everyone spends two weeks doing intensive training before spreading their wings as a fully fledged Starling"
2. "we’re constantly developing our customer service process"

James, please tell me this is just Siri being as useless as ever. I can’t see anything in there that says you’ve looked at your training process and found ways to improve it. The only reference to training is that you do 2 weeks of it. So to answer your rhetorical, yes you should have highlighted it more, but of course that would require there to actually be something there to highlight!

Again - the post is good, it all contains good stuff. It just doesn’t contain the stuff that I was led to believe it would.


At the time of the blog was still in it’s early stages. We decided that it would be far more useful for our customers to see a range of the things we’re doing to support them in one place, rather than focus on each and every detail of why specific conversations were not to standard.

One overall problem (the wait times), which affected everyone, has already been addressed and is improving. We’ve also pushed some announcements to let ourselves catch up. It takes balance.

As I’ve said, there’s more to come. Please give us some time on this one.


@JamesPratley When you look at your training and tone of voice, could you look at allowing the team to have some personality rather than cut and paste. I just sent a message in app about button and tab inconsistencies on the app - you have 4 button styles and 2 tab styles, I wanted to see if they were aware or if there was a reason. The cut and paste response felt like a brush off and not a personal response. I’ve seen a lot of these community brush-offs on twitter when people are asking a question or pointing out that something isn’t right.

Thanks for getting in touch.
We’re always looking for ways to improve the Starling experience, so thanks for sharing your feedback.
This has been shared with the Starling team.
Our community is one of the best ways to share ideas, so come join the conversation -

Monzo in comparison isn’t much different but it feels real, not cut and paste.

Hi Lee :wave:
That’s a great idea! I’ll get this passed on to the product team to see what they think :blush:
Let us know if there’s anything else we can help with, otherwise have a great day!

The starling response annoyed me.


While I am a fan of Starling I do agree on this point. It is often how a message is conveyed rather than it’s content that has the most impact in creating a customer service impression.


Morning everyone, I would like to give some context to the reply given by one of our Starlings in Customer Service. We are now dealing with thousands of calls and chats and we are constantly improving the level of analysis of the customer problem and making sure that we give accurate and timely replies.

In this case you gave a suggestion on an app improvement, the Starling in customer service answering your chat is not a product designer and wouldn’t know if your idea is a great idea or not, or whether this is something we have already done and is already being tested, his or her job is to pass the message on.

Please post your suggestions for app improvements here in the Community where the community, Starling product and myself are able to join the debate.

Finally - please post you comments about button styles and tab styles so I can read your suggestion.


Agree. Monzo is a more friendlier response. However copy and pasting is involved as previously I reported to Monzo a bug on two separate occasions and got the same nice friendly response. But for standard questions it’s understandable.

But generally speaking customer support with a bit of personality is key. I totally get the professionalism Starling wants to have and most likely doesn’t won’t to go down the road of “the bank is my best friend”. But a little bit of freedom to express personality would be a nice addition. I’m sure there is some great people on the chat but are limited by the rules in place.

But some added friendly tone is the reason why banks like Fd have a strong following even if their app and processes are a bit dated. You can be a well establish bank and also have really nice friendly human customer service. Remember people switch and stick to companies because of customer service. In the world of automation the human element for customer service can be a big plus to get and keep customers.


Thanks for the response Anne, it’s more the tov that annoyed me, monzo spoke to me like a real person, it felt genuine, similar content but worded in a friendlier non cut and paste way. It felt like a legacy response. It’s a minimal thing but it annoyed me. Even if it was “yeah that seems a bit odd to have 4 different button styles, I’ll look into that for you, thanks for bringing that to our attention” can you see the difference in the tone and response? I feels real and genuine.

I’ll dig out the post and share the button comment.


I contacted CS via in app chat at around 0600 this morning (Saturday). Absolute pleasure. Instant response and extremely polite and friendly. Top marks Starling! Rachael was the person that dealt with my query. Very impressed.


There are exceptions, Logan and Callum always offer a personal approach, just the odd time you get the cut and paste response from others.


Maybe the less individualised replies are people newer in their role (after all they are expanding so fast) and once settled their personalities will start to show thru in the replies they give.


Hi @anne thanks for the response on this. It is really fantastic that we do see senior members of the Starling team on the community. I hope as Starling grows this keeps happening as this is also fantastic customer service.

In this situation it is difficult as there is only so many ways someone can say “I’ll pass your feedback on to the team”.

But thanks for sharing the context for this and as per a previously post it’s good to see Starling are focusing on the customer support experience at present.


I understand what you mean about tone. However, our Starlings don’t know that you @Cragmireuk know what you are doing and have some expertise.

If they agreed with every suggestion that came through just to be friendly, then that would be just as bad.

I would be ever so grateful you could start posting your suggestions in the Community – it is the easiest way to get your feedback.


Just to let you know what happens in the background. We have a Slack Channel where Starlings in CS post the customer feedback/product suggestions.

We all read this several times a day.

However, it is much more efficient and we get more value from it if it is in the Community.