Monzo’s communication strategy

Monzo’s in app chat has taken a lot of criticism lately… I’ve heard people say that it takes too long to get a response, that they go around in circles, and that they get passed between too many different staff members.

As a bank, Monzo are relatively unusual in promoting chat over telephone and email. Is this the right strategy? Does the community think Monzo are right to pursue chat as the primary form of contact?

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Well I would probably have to have a really hard think about my relationship with :monzo: if they ever prioritised the telephone

From my brief spell with Starling onwards, I have new personal rule for whether I choose to keep giving my custom to a business - if I can start/open a feature online I should be able to finish/close it online and with a roughly comparable level of difficulty/number of steps

A few business have risked that with me recently…


There is nothing wrong in promoting the in app messaging system over other methods of communication - I certainly wouldn’t want to use email as my preferred method.

In addition, many other banks are now promoting similar systems at the moment and most seem to work better than Monzo’s implementation (based on what I’ve seen)

Monzo needs to:

a) have first line staff who can resolve most of the queries without referring to a specialist or passing a customer on to someone else.

Reducing the number of ‘touches’ a query has is a well established path to both lowering costs and increased customer satisfaction levels. Perhaps they need to invest more in training the front line more effectively.

b) if you have to be transferred to someone else it should ideally be near instantaneous (within a few minutes) - not that someone else will get to it whenever they can;

c) the above also needs Monzo to be clear if it’s a live chat facility or just a (non instant) messaging system; and

d) backed by a reliable telephone system for those who can’t access the app for whatever reason - not one that allegedly cuts you off after 5 minutes - especially if Monzo decide the chat facility is not intended for urgent issues.

Finally, while I appreciate Monzo would prefer customers to use the FAQs in the first, they need to make the chat/message option easier to find.

Certainly, this forum should not be seeing posts of people asking for help in contacting Monzo as they can’t work out how to do so.


A few observations on this.

First, it’s impossible to get a handle on how big a problem actually is by judging the number of grumbles on a company’s community forum. It’s a hideously distorted sample. People don’t go running to the community forum to report it when they have had a successful transaction. I’ve had cause to use the in app chat perhaps half a dozen times, for example, and it’s been a positive experience each time.

As much as people here would like to believe they know the company better than the company does, we really don’t, and Monzo will likely have data on the relative success levels of the in app chat that probably looks very different to the community forum perception.

That’s not to say the service is perfect and doesn’t need work, just that it probably doesn’t need the overhaul it might look like from this position.

My main issue is how difficult it is to find it. I get the desire to get people to self-serve, but I’m not sure their FAQ knowledgebase thingy is currently detailed enough to enforce its use, certainly not in my experience. I also personally always prefer the carrot rather than the stick in customer service… find ways of encouraging use of the FAQ first rather than hiding the in app chat (for example if the stats back it up, say something like “90% of enquiries are resolved in less than 3 mins using the FAQ” at the initial point of service).

I also personally think good customer service should be seen as a financial investment in much the same way the fancy and expensive devs they have building the apps and background systems are. Encourage self-service, but when people choose to interact with someone via the chat, they should be immediately faced with someone who can independently deal with the vast majority of issues. Investing and improving that would still be cheaper than switching to a phone line system for example.

Finally, I absolutely loathe phoning somebody up to deal with a problem. Navigating complicated menus, sitting in a queue for ages and ages and ages. If it’s going to take an hour to resolve my issue, I’d much much much much rather that was via occasional chat messages that pop up from time to time while I’m getting on with my day. And in fact, I’d rather it took all day via occasional chat messages rather than spending an hour on the phone - there would just need to be a solid triage system to ensure people who have urgent issues are dealt with quickly.

I think the previous response is also right about managing expectations by changing what it’s called so people aren’t expecting an individual’s undivided attention in the same they would have with a phone operator.


I think it’s important to remember that a big part of Monzo’s USP is being an ‘app based bank’. It would be counter productive if the customer support function wasn’t largely based in the app.

Of course there will always need to be phone support as there are times when that’s the best option. That said, if you’d rather deal with everything over the phone perhaps Monzo isn’t the best bank account for you?

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I think the big problem is that not everyone is seeing the same thing. Some don’t have the chat option easily displayed, which is causing more problems.

But chat is the right avenue and it shouldn’t be on every single page. Some people are just stupid and can’t do things themselves, chat times shouldn’t be longer for normal people because they are taking up the time of someone.

You only have to see how many stupid questions get asked on here to realise that in-app chat must get thousands of them every day.

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Maybe Monzo should stop trying to be the bank for everyone, and concentrate more on being the bank for normal people /s.

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easy sign up …only for “normal people” :slight_smile: …could be a test , you can only sign up by pressing the help button , if you cant find it …sorry not at this time …

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I disagree, just a quick search for ‘success’ brings a few up :upside_down_face::smirk:

I don’t think Chat should go away (clearly many prefer it) but I’d like to see more resources directed to making the phone support reliable.

I find chat can be a clunky medium for having conversations surrounding issues/problems, even when instant. Not just Monzo. Any Chat system.

I just don’t have confidence issues can be resolved in a timely manner via chat so wouldn’t trust Monzo with large transactions without reliable phone support in place.

Delays with chat seems to come in waves. Then you need to take what some people claim with a pinch of salt.

It’s certainly getting better so give it time and I’m sure it will be fine.

I know there are plenty of people who’ve never had an issue so that’s a good sign. You just don’t hear about the good stories.

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Absolutely agree with this. “Chat” suggests I should have a two way conversion with someone there and then. I find the delays backwards and forwards very frustrating and that’s probably partly because of the expectation I have of something called Chat.


I think it’s safe to say these actions are all about revenue, and trying to get to profitability.

They fired 165 members of staff in vegas who primarily worked in customer support to save costs. This is a lot less people to answer queries.

By burying the chat option in a help doc, it will most likely reduce inbound demand and save Monzo money. Pushing people to self serve via the help docs will also save money by reducing inbound demand. Monzo saying they want customers to self serve is entirely about revenue in my position. If it was about customer service, they’d continue with the chat system they had and try improve it from there.

It feels like Monzo is now at a point where it is doing every conceivable thing possible to reduce spend and improve unit economics. We even saw the CTO, Meri leave to voluntarily help with cost-cutting measures.

The down round may very well be due to Covid, be it also might be due to unit economcs and revenue not meeting forecasts.

Revolut and Starling are making that last step towards profitability. It will be interesting to see if Monzo is near that in their yearly report this year.

You say that like it is a bad thing

I don’t want to have to interact with someone any more than absolutely necessary

Last setence is not quite right. The Vegas staff were the overnight staff. This is why you (will? not sure if it has gone live yet or not) get a message if you try to start a chat at night asking you to come back in the morning unless it is urgent. The number of people available during the day hasn’t been affected by the Vegas cut to a huge degree, as this would be their off-shift time.

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You seem to believe everything that you read in the press. If I was leaving a job for whatever reason and had the opportunity to put a positive spin on it as a philanthropic gesture to help the company to my next potential employer I would , wouldn’t you ?

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I don’t think it’s a bad thing, but I feel the motive behind it was a cost saving one.

Personally, I think it’s a great idea for a company that wants to improve their unit economics to do this. I’d much rather they do this, then fail to get to profitability.

My only concern is that customer support was a competitive advantage for Monzo. By doing this, I wonder will Starling and Revolut be more enticing for people to make their main account.

I suppose complaining at the communication but still having mention Starling and Revolut in each post makes a difference to complaining about the CEO and mentioning Starling and Revolut.

Revolut makes you pay to have “primary customer support” with no real mention of what that is.

Starling has 24/7 support, the same as Monzo.

This is cost cutting, anyone can see that. But I don’t want Monzo to waste money on answering questions that self help can solve. But when I need them for something serious, they are there, 24/7.

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You could be right. The first paragraph in the TechCrunch article said this though:

Following voluntary employee furloughs and salary cuts in the U.K., Monzo is continuing to take tough decisions in order to shore up its financial position amidst the coronavirus crisis and resulting economic downturn.

This is why I said it was a cost saving measure. There is a lot of other action around cost saving such as furlough and salary cuts and Tom sacrificing his salary for a year.

I don’t think it’s too far of a stretch to feel the vegas office and burying the chat button is also a cost saving measure

Late to the party sorry!

Brilliant rule, I would add I shouldn’t have to email a company to close an account/feature. I should be able to push a button or fill in a few details and do it myself rather than email CS and have to wait for the “account deletion team” [or whatever they are calling them] to review my request and give reasons why I should stay, before they finally remove the account or feature.

I much rather use chat where I have a clear record of the conversation, I do not like having to phone a company to sort something, especially where it’s a simple query or they can click a few buttons to solve it. I also find it easier to think and write what I need to for a bit rather than explain over the phone.

Again, brilliant point. I hate the numerous call menus, trying to get through to the right team, wasting time for someone to answer, or to get through and have someone say “I’ll get XXX to call you back”.

Also sick of companies having phone numbers which charge, or waiting on a call for someone to check something. I also lose signal on my way to and from work, not to mention not being able to take a call at work, so it’s handy to have a chat feature I can dip in and out of rather than call back and explain everything again because I’ve gone through a tunnel.