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Is it website designers or just bankers who are a wunch of... ? - dorsetgirl
August 8th, 2014
01:05 pm
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Is it website designers or just bankers who are a wunch of... ?
Yesterday I needed to visit branches of two major banks (in the same town), but as it was already 4pm I needed to check what time they both closed. Went to Bank A website, menu, branch finder, searched by town name, clicked on the branch and got the times, all in 20 seconds including loading the website to start with.

Went to bank B website, help, branch locator, entered town name. “0 branches in this town”. So I tried the county name. Only two branches in the entire county, apparently, both in the same town (not the one I wanted). Tried another town in that county - it correctly found two branches. But it doesn’t actually have the opening times. Seriously, what is the point of that? You can’t phone up individual branches nowadays, so the first thing you want to know, after the simple fact of their existence, is “when are they open?”

So I had to just go on the off-chance. Luckily they were actually still open, otherwise I’d have wasted quite a lot of diesel and parking fee.

Last night I complained to Bank B, via non-secure, not logged in, online web form. Having filled in my name and address (but no account details requested) on a form headed “Complaints”, the only box available for me to explain matters was headed “Your Question”. So I filled it in anyway, told them I didn’t understand why the box was headed “Your Question” when I didn’t have a question, I had a complaint, and then explained the problem and told them their branch finder was totally useless.

This morning I got a phone call from a young man who wanted to go through security questions before he would discuss the matter. I refused. I said as he would know from my complaint, all I’d been trying to do was find out the branch opening times and I didn’t consider that discussion of such matters warranted full banking security. He said he was just following procedures and couldn’t go any further until I had verified my identity. I refused again and reminded him that I wasn’t trying to access my account or anything confidential, I hadn’t even logged on to the website, and that in fact the problem could have been found by someone who wasn’t even a customer. I asked what he would do if the complaint were from someone who didn’t have an account and he said that he would verify the identity of the non-account-holder. He didn't sound as if he had a brain, only a script, so I didn't bother asking how he would do that.

I wouldn't have minded if he'd just asked my name, to confirm he was talking to the person who made the complaint, but no, he completely refused to discuss the bank’s publicly-available website with me until I proved who I was. I continued to refuse to go through full banking security in order to be told why their branch finder doesn’t know my local branch exists, so he said they would send me a “written response” (whatever happened to letters?) instead.

So there you go. The reasons why their Branch Finder is such complete shit are highly confidential and can only be discussed with people who are willing to go through full banking security beforehand. Heaven forfend that such information should become public knowledge.

It all reminds me somewhat of the time I phoned Barclays, amongst others, asking them to send me leaflets for children's accounts. Encumbered as I was at the time with three children under five, I wasn't keen on slogging up and down the High Street and queueing up in every bank in turn. Most of the others were happy to send leaflets but Barclays flat-out refused. The only way I could get leaflets was to go to the branch in person. I said what about people with disabilities who couldn't get to the branch? (I have no wish to underestimate the problems of real disabilities, but there were definitely times back then when I felt that the possession of three small children and a double pushchair counted somewhere on the disability scale - can't do stairs, can't concentrate for more than ten seconds, can't walk at more than 0.5 miles per hour etc). He hesitated for a moment, as though hearing in his mind the enormity of what he was about to say, and replied that they too would have to visit the branch in order to get leaflets. Even if they couldn't.

It often seems to me that banks get so tied up with their internal procedures and the way it suits them to do things, that they forget that the whole point of their business is to gain and retain customers by providing a service to those customers, on the back of which they make money. It doesn't seem to worry Bank B in the slightest that anyone thinking of moving home or job to the town in question would not choose to bank with them, on the simple grounds that they pretend not to exist!

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[User Picture]
Date:August 8th, 2014 12:43 pm (UTC)

Aren't they barking mad? I have some of my very best insane conversations with banks... and I've just found out (the hard way) you should never close an account with a bank before you have all the paperwork you're entitled to, like tax certificates, because once that account is closed you don't exist anymore. The paperwork does, but you don't, so you can't have it.

I also love the way they phone you and demand you pass their security questions, whilst insisting you should never give your details out over the phone. Erm, are we contradicting ourselves at all?

[User Picture]
Date:August 8th, 2014 02:15 pm (UTC)
I can only assume that it is no longer a requirement to have a certain level of intelligence and education to work for a bank! Even the people on the counter in the branch don't seem to know anything about banking nowadays, just how to sell you different accounts and insurance.

never close an account with a bank before...

That's a very valuable piece of advice - I shall bear that in mind!

I made a similar mistake once; when my ex and I split up I foolishly got all organised and closed the joint accounts. I then realised that we had a small shareholding (a privatisation) in joint names, and nowhere to pay the dividends into. Almost twenty-five years later I'm still getting cheques in joint names that I can't do anything with and he's still refusing to answer emails to any address I manage to find for him online.
[User Picture]
Date:August 8th, 2014 02:25 pm (UTC)

Oh my goodness - that must make you grind your teeth every single time. /o\ The trouble with these things is you don't know what can go wrong until it does, and then you discover there's no way to put it right... and logic certainly doesn't seem to enter into it. Or being a customer!

[User Picture]
Date:August 8th, 2014 03:47 pm (UTC)
Or being a customer

This, definitely. I've just got back from the supermarket, where I am sick of having to stand out of the way of young (staff) lads pushing humungous trolleys of new shelf stock. I honestly don't expect people to stand back for me just because I'm of the female persuasion, but when I worked in a shop I was told that you always - with a smile, and a cheerful comment if appropriate - stand back and let the customer go first. Somewhere along the line I was also taught that younger people should stand out of the way for older people, and I try to follow that, but I seem to be on my own on that one! Although that could have been my Gran and she might have made it up herself...
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