I spent a whole hour in the local branch of Barclays Bank yesterday. Was I arranging a mortgage? Or, perhaps I was initiating a very compacted transfer between my many investment accounts (I should be so lucky). No, I spent an hour in a Barclays Bank branch paying a solitary ten pound note into my daughters account, so that she could top her mobile phone!
My first job when I first Left school was working in a high street bank on the tills, so here are my opinions in the ‘advances’ that banks seem to have made in, what should be, a customer service industry, and what I think of them.
Get the customer liaison prat to go on a till
Banks now seem to have a ‘meet and greet’ guy in the banking hall whose sole purpose would appear to wander up and down, being pleasant to people. In fact, he wandered up and down the ever growing queue asking what people they needed to do and telling them ‘sorry, you will need a cashier for that’! Here’s a novel idea. Instead of telling people they need a cashier for that, go and be a cashier and do that, and then, you won’t have a queue.
Put the glass screen back up
I know that you shouldn’t listen to other people’s conversations in a bank, but hey, I was bored. I learned that one of the reasons for my long wait in the bank queue was the lack of security screens in the branches. It turns out that since they don’t have those glass screens up anymore, they aren’t allowed to keep much cash in the tills. So, if someone pays in a bundle of notes, the cashier has to stop serving customers, count and bag up the excess cash, fill in a few forms and deposit it in a hole in the wall to keep it safe. Still, at least now we can talk to the cashier while we wait an hour to be served.
Bring back the enquiries desk
When I worked in a bank, there was a separate desk for things other than the just the simple banking transactions. Why? Because the lady who’s standing order didn’t go through is not going to believe it was because there was not enough money in her account and she is going to debate it and hold me up from paying in my ten quid. Things have changed, and I know that we don’t need rows of cashiers to deal with cash now, so how about one till dedicated to dealing with the quick transactions, just like the supermarkets have express checkouts?
I don’t want to use a bloody machine!
Ok, so this is probably down to my age and I’m exactly the same in a supermarket with the self- service checkouts there, but I don’t want to be fiddling about following instructions on a machine, I want to have a person serve me. So, get the Wally who has to come over to help me use the bloody machine to open a till and serve me instead. Wouldn’t that just make more sense?
Put the computers out the back again
Putting computers on the desk of cashiers, so they can look things up for customers is a great idea, but the cashier’s dong the data entry for every transaction sucks. I eventually made it to the front of the queue and handed over my ten pound note. Half way through keying in my transaction to her computer, it crashed. Everything grinds to halt, the cashier looks perplexed and I stand watching in dismay. She then told me that because she couldn’t be sure if the transaction went through or not, she would have to balance up her till and check it with the computer. Eventually, after discovering she was £5 out in her till, which proved absolutely nothing about my £10, she asked a colleague to process my transaction for her.
What was wrong with the old fashioned method of stamping a paying in slip and giving me a receipt for my tenner and somebody in the back office keying in the transaction into a computer? It would give a much faster service to the customer and, if the computers go down, it’s the bank employees who have to stay late, not the customer.
I’m actually, believe it or not, not a technophobe at all, but I do hate bad service. I tell you the God’s honest truth, it took me one full hour to pay ten pounds into a Barclays Bank. Get a grip Barclays and apply some common sense to your technological advancements. It’s not all about saving you money so that can pay bigger bonuses; the customer needs good service too.