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The banks and customer service

By andrew on February 15, 2009

It seems that the banks are easy prey to heavy criticism at the moment. I generally believe there is much good about much of what they do but sure enough there are many things they’ve been getting wrong of late – not least of which is appearing to be greedy (with our money !) However this post is about something specific. Here goes ………

I phoned my ‘local’ bank recently during our lengthy period of bad snow in order to find out if the branch  was open. I had taken the journey into town on the previous working day only to find out that it was shut. Fairly straightforward then ? …..

I looked up a number by keying in the name of the bank and the town into Google. It gave me an 0845 number. OK. I called it and was answered by a guy with a noticeable North East accent. As the call progressed I could hear other voices in the background with the same accent – so I guess I was through to somewhere in the Newcastle – Sunderland area. No problem with that, good service is good service wherever it comes from.

I had to answer the range of security questions which got a bit irritating. I completely understand the need for this if I’m wanting to know any financial details or carry out any transactions – but all I want to know is if the local branch has open doors ! Why do I need to give my bloody security details ?!

Anyway I did and then he asked me to tell him again which town I was in, he prompted me but made a town name up which was admittedly similar but not the same as mine. I had to correct him, so this made me think that he wasn’t listening properly.

He then had to phone the back to see if they were open, which took a few minutes. He was polite and responsive at all times, and seemed pleasant and I’m sure he’s good to his mother ……. but

It all took too long, their system wasn’t flexible enough, and I was made to feel like a number, rather than an important customer. This is not good enough customer service. If the banks are going to ensure they offer exceptional standards of customer service, they really will need to raise their game most significantly.

The standard to aim for is “big enough to cope, small enough to care.” It is most important that the banks get this right with their customer service standards 


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