Sorry — not the hardest word

26 May 2021

Inside Atom

Edward Twiddy
Edward Twiddy
The front door of the Atom bank HQ, the Rivergreen centre, during the end of summer. The sun is setting and there are green trees turning to yellow

Sorry - not the hardest word

Last Friday afternoon we blundered by sending out a number of duplicate app and SMS notifications. Some were alerting customers to the existence of a statement, others were about mortgages that were being arranged or savings accounts that had recently been opened. To top off one bad mistake with another, our app was subsequently unavailable for 45mins. These two things did not need to happen at the same time, but like many bad things they tend to travel in packs.

It’s not meant to be like this at any time, but at the end of the week it’s somehow worse for everyone that we’ve impacted. Just when thoughts are turning to Friday night and a weekend, the bank intrudes with a notification that might have been welcome confirmation the first time it was sent but is now a source of anxiety, confusion and a call to action.

Once we had replied to those who had contacted us, an apology and an explanation followed. We’re really grateful for the thank yous that the customer service team have received in response and have shared them across the business. Everyone at Atom pulled out the stops to get the app back up and to get to the root cause of the issue on Friday. Each and every one of us knows that when we make a mistake we admit it and explain it.

After watching the dials and talking to the team on Saturday, I discovered that my family had set the sitting room up for a night at Worthy Farm, with a “big screen” draped over the fireplace and all that is best about indoor camping to hand. Like many others we switched on in time for a 7 o’clock start only to find…yep, we were locked out. And like many others we went to social media to find out more.

After an hour of trying we turned on Eurovision – but not for long, and once they had made everything work the apology from the Eavis family was heartfelt and welcome and a bit familiar.