Working like it’s 1999

For the first time in a long time, I recently needed to go in person, to a bank.  Something that I normally avoid at all costs.

I wanted to open a bank account for a child.  The bank told me I had to do in person rather than deal with it online or over the phone, as someone needed to see the child’s birth certificate.

So a couple of Saturdays ago, I went to my local branch in the afternoon.

It was shut.

So the following Saturday, I went along to another one, having checked the opening hours in advance this time.

I went early.  I was the first person through the door. There were plenty of staff, all unoccupied.  My visit went a bit like this:

Me: Can I open a child’s savings account please?

Bank Person: You need to make an appointment.

Me: Can’t I see one of these people that don’t look very busy?

Bank Person:  No, you need to see the account opening person.  She doesn’t work today. Can you do 11am on Monday?

Me: No, I will be at work.

Bank Person: 3pm Tuesday?

Me: No, I will be at work. Do  you do any early morning appointments, or evenings?

Bank Person: No I’m sorry, she doesn’t work those hours.  We can give you an appointment in four weeks on a Saturday morning?

Me: What if you took a copy of the child’s birth certificate, and then I talked to your colleague over the phone to do the rest?

Bank Person: We can’t do that.  The person opening the account has to see the original. 

Me: You couldn’t confirm you had seen it?

Bank Person: That isn’t our policy. 

And so on.

Eventually, I got an appointment at another branch, at a totally inconvenient location, just because it is in a shopping centre and therefore opens slightly longer hours.  It is in three weeks.

Here’s the thing.  If this is your business model, then you won’t long have a business.

Your customers are social, digital, global, 24/7.  And busy.  Meet them where they are, when they are, or risk losing them to somewhere more flexible, more responsive, more 2015.  This applies internally to your employees as much as it does externally to your customers. If your ways of working, processes and procedures, for your customers or your people, are manual, static, cumbersome and dated, then a retention issue will surely follow.  Be easy to do business with, in HR, in everything.

And now I need to go and find a new bank…..

9 thoughts on “Working like it’s 1999

  1. Banks are so antiquated in their operations, it defies belief. Thank goodness for online banking and cash points/cashback/contactless cards; saves having to interact with anyone at the bank unless absolutely necessary.

  2. The general total lack of professionalism; customer service; aand empathy beggars belief – Don’t the managerial morons, who apparently do nothing to reverse this mindless decline, realise the pleasure and joy ‘doing it properly’ can afford to all concerned ?

  3. I am tempted to share my experience of a high street grocer, some out of date daffodils and my ensuing rage – but perhaps not …

  4. Hi Gemma

    I tweeted this yesterday, 4th May. “Digital age? Set up standing order 29.4, expect immediate action. No, 3 days. 3rd day w/e. Then Bank Holiday. Payment due 5.5 – week later.” The standing order was set up online so my expectation of instant action was not unreasonable, I think. Grrr …

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