Right Steps & Poui Trees


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350 Words or Less: In Which I Rant Briefly About Banks

The Present

Today I learned that my bank branch will close its drive through facility at the end of April! In the grand scheme of things, this is no disaster. Actually, in no scheme of things is it a disaster, but I am annoyed. I like drive through banking.

The Past

From the days when it made it easier to get banking done with my children in tow, to the present when my knees react badly to standing in lines, I have really liked drive through banking. I have preferred to sit in the car, eating a patty, drinking some coconut water, while listening to a talk show or reading a book, rather than waiting in a line in a banking hall. I avoid banking halls like the plague. I associate them with long lines, long waits and increasingly short fuses!

The Future

When I asked the drive through teller where the nearest drive through facility would be after April, she told me of a branch halfway across town. So that’s out. I asked her what my other options would be and they were:

a) online banking (which I already do as much as possible)

b) the automatic tellers (which often involve standing in long lines and sometimes do not provide as much privacy as I would like)

c) the (dreaded) banking hall.

Thoughtful Concluding Analysis

Maybe it’s a cost-cutting measure. Maybe it’s increased efficiency for the bank, if not for me. Maybe it’s because there’s a gremlin on some committee in the bank whose sole purpose is finding ways and means to irritate and annoy customers. (Can’t let them get too comfortable, you know! Always keep them wondering what’s next! Hehehe!) Yes…that third possibility….


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“All Our Agents Are Busy, But Please Stay on the Line…”

I don’t know about you, but I am fed up with the amount of time I seem to spend waiting on the phone to talk with customer service agents. Listening all the time to company jingles, promos for new services, or messages repeated ad nauseam telling me that I am a valued customer but no-one can talk to me just yet. Sometimes I’ve said in frustration that in the time I spend waiting on the phone, I could actually go to the company office to talk to someone!

One morning last week, that’s exactly what happened. I had gone to the bank to conduct a transaction, which I was able to do fairly quickly. I then headed to an office to carry out some business, which depended on the transaction I had just completed at the bank. While there, I realised that there was one detail I needed to clarify with the bank, before going ahead with what I needed to do at the office. So I decided to call the bank.

In the Yellow Pages, the numbers of the individual bank branches are no longer listed, only a central Customer Service number. I called it, and after pressing the various buttons as directed by the automated voice, I was on hold waiting , listening to the message telling me that all their customer service agents were busy, but that I would be dealt with as soon as one was available.

After waiting a while and getting more frustrated by the minute, I decided to get back into my car and drive back to the bank. I drove all the way back to the bank, with the earbud in my ear, listening to the automated message. I was actually walking through the parking lot when an agent finally answered. I informed him that I no longer needed his services, as I had driven back to the bank while waiting.

There is something wrong with your customer service model if it takes the same length of time for a customer to drive to your bank as it does for a customer service agent to come on line. Don’t you agree? If yes, press 1; if no press 2….