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'Very high call volume' delays frustrating KeyBank customers

KeyBank worked Tuesday to resolve a problem some First Niagara customers encountered trying to access their online accounts, following the conversion to Key.

Some customers vented on social media about not being able to log into their accounts, and then being stuck waiting – in some cases three hours or longer – for help from a customer contact center.

Key said instructions for signing in on its website weren’t clear enough. As a result, customers who didn’t realize they were already signed in, were attempting to sign in again, said Gary Quenneville, Key’s top locally based executive.

“So they’re trying to sign on for the first time and it’s locking it up,” Quenneville said. “We’ve tried to clarify those instructions so it’s more clear on exactly what path they should follow.”

Key increased staffing at its customer contact centers by about 350 people, anticipating higher call volume.

“And that will help us to get caught up, but of course when everybody calls in at 8:30 [a.m.], it definitely is overwhelming,” Quenneville said.

Quenneville said the problem was not a system error, saying the bank had successfully moved 1 million First Niagara customers’ accounts on to its systems. Online banking service for First Niagara customers who were switched to Key actually went live Monday afternoon. The bank had been targeting Tuesday morning.

While Key tried to ease the transition by allowing First Niagara customers to keep their same IDs and passwords, some customers reported hitting digital roadblocks.

“I am livid right now,” said Rocco Maiorano of Warminster, Pa., a First Niagara customer for two and a half years. “I’ve been on hold for just shy of two hours right now because it is not accepting my log in information after I verified my account.”

Another customer, Amanda Jennings of Kinderhook, said she had been on hold for about 90 minutes. She also went to a branch on Tuesday to deposit a check, but said it was “extremely crowded.”

“I had to leave my deposit with an employee and leave, because I refused to wait in line,” she said.

As of late Tuesday morning, the bank said 75 percent of First Niagara online clients had signed on to their Key accounts. The bank also successfully converted all First Niagara branches and ATMs to Key over the Columbus Day weekend.


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