Monday, February 21, 2011

Banking on your woes

My favorite bank, a four letter titled institution started giving me a lot of grief lately. The culprit was Customer Service (CS), a hitherto well trained, intelligent bunch of people who seem to have suddenly lost a lot of intelligence perhaps answering calls from people like me or due to working in a bank. My cousin brother who works in bank says it is the former. I don’t believe him though. I think he is just being mean because he hates bank account holders. A sweet lil girl like me can never give grief to anyone.

Me to CS: Your system is not accepting my account number.
CS: You are not an account holder.
Me: Oops!

My problem was simple. The security system that guards the small change that is deposited every month-end in my account under the head “Salary”, was not allowing me to carry out any online transaction.

“Your salary is laughable,” said the message that flashed before my eyes cruelly every time I logged into my account, followed by a wicked “You are better off begging at the signal light ha ha ha”.

Kidding. It doesn’t say all that. It just informs me in crisp English that I was a moron and should perhaps end my miserable life.

A phone banker actually told me the other day that whenever she gets depressed or fed up of her job/life/hairdo, she takes a peek at my “Salary Account” and promptly falls off her chair laughing. Then she feels all nice. I was very touched by her story and slammed the phone on her face. She called me back just as promptly to inform me that I had a large fan club in the bank. This time she slammed the phone before I could take the lead, thereby taking away the tiny scrap of self-dignity I could scrape out of this situation.

I decided to change my account. The first two banks laughed me off the premises. The other two didn’t let me past the door. The watchmen told me kindly to either buy 1) a Piggy Bank or get a 2) Post Office account.

The last two options were nationalized banks and friends advised against it as most of their account holders were on drugs or under treatment for chronic depression. The rest were all dead waiting for customer service. I decided that I didn’t need another source of misery in my life besides the SMS alert from the bank every month-end alerting me to the peanuts that were being dropped into the account.

So I was stuck with my most favorite-now-fast-becoming-least-favorite four letter titled bank. And that was a scary thought as I had only one bank account. *gulp*

Every attempt to contact them failed as the bank has a 'phone banking only facility', which means you cannot call someone and scream at his face. So you are stuck with Phone Banking, a euphemism for “Hitting yourself on the head with a hammer”.

After you have punched the various keys in your telephone that identifies you, your account number and other details like your past three boyfriends phone numbers, an efficient sounding phone banker picks up the phone and asks you politely to give your name, account number and past four boyfriends phone numbers. After that the person listens politely to your complaints and replies just as crisply as before that she will get back to me soon. I swear she was yawning when she said that. My cousin brother, the one who works in a bank says that I am just assuming things and that she wasn’t yawning. Bankers are alert people he says, who can work 24/7/365 on a cup of coffee and a couple of hundred cigarettes without yawning. I don’t believe him though. I think he is just boasting.

Note to self: Cut him off my will.

And then you wait and wait and wait and after a year of paying bills standing in mile long queues, you suddenly remember that your complaint has not been attended to! You send a furious mail to every email ID on your bank’s site blaming them of really bad customer service, triumphantly touting the compliant date and finally you get a mail asking you to call their phone banking service. And that is when you shift your account to a Nationalized Bank.


Guruji said...

Even though we had big problem initially getting along(We meaning I and my bank, not my spouse as you might think wrongly), these days we keep good rapport with each other (My bank is CTBank NA, CT stands for Cut-Throat, Bank stands for bank and NA stands for ..well..I'm afraid I cant tell you that in a civilized conversation like this). They know me and I know them well, thats the secret of our long-term relationship. Here is how it works-when I call their customer support, they tell me upfront that "Your call is impotent to us, so either hold the line or get lost right now, right here!" and I understand them, they got a lot of other rich peoples money to handle, while my nearly cashless one is secondary. And they understand me too, so they keep sending me fliers about how their rich customers enjoy life by taking vacations, buying costly consumer durables, dining in star-grade restaurants etc and also get .00001% discount on all these because they use my bank's credit cards. So I can also dream about getting rich one day and availing that .00001% discount! and that keeps me motivated, what more can one ask his/her bank for, I don't know. So my advice to you is, shift your account to CTBank NA

Anonymous said...

I am proud nationalized bank account holder for the last 5+ years. No issue till now. All my concerns/complaints promptly taken care of. Far better than most of the new gen banks in service.

The Wanderer said...

Haha.. been there seen that. Had written about it a month back. You might want to check out Hello! This is Customer Torture Service

los said...

Thanx for making me smile,giggle ,laugh consistently for so long.....God bless

Nona said...

he he! So have you shifted to a nationalized bank?

Anonymous said...

Missing your tweets soooo much :-(

Anita Jeyan said...

Yes whenever I complain about these things, my Papa keeps reminding me on how he was comfortable with Nationalized banks and never had any issues. But I pretend to ignore his advice although I know its painfully true :(
After reading this I also have these strange images in my head...of customer care people laughing at my account ! :(
(I'd been reading all your posts but couldn't comment)

Anonymous said...

Open and a/c with SBI. They may not look at you or give a cheerful smile or even acknowledge your presence when you walk into their office and could be less than polite to customers in general.

Nevertheless, they have a decent online banking site and mobile banking application both of which are free services.

It goes without saying that they are the largest commercial bank in the country hence no risk of their failing and the associated risk of your getting bankrupt ;-)

Yours truly,
A Well Meaning Banker

vanwinkle said...

i sense a hidden agenda seem to have hit upon a noble way of asking for a fatter pay cheque;)and as far as tele banking and your four-letter-bank is concerned,they are imparting the virtues of patience,that too for free. you should be indebted to them!:D

ps:you killed your twitter account eh?

Destiny's child... said...

Banks, customer service, sales people and all related things are often unfair and rude and mean and indifferent to sweet lil girls who mean no harm. ;)

rofl post, as always. so did you shift?

k.ø.c.h.ü said... njan vayichillatto.will do that later. Evidey? ippo kaanunnillallo. not in twitter anymore?

Narendra Naramala said...

//“Your salary is laughable,” said the message that flashed before my eyes cruelly every time I logged into my account, followed by a wicked “You are better off begging at the signal light ha ha ha”.//

ROFL ... :D .. u r simply superb...!


This is the third time I'm asking you .. Please say YES this time... :)

skar said...

@Narendra: Actually, depending on your religion, that might work for divorce, never marriage.

silverine said...

Santhosh: lol! Cut Throat Bank is already on my list. That 00001% discount is so tempting :p

Anon: I find the new gen banks better. My complaint was attended to promptly after a few barbs :)

The Blue Indian: That was hilarious. Loved the post!

Los: Thank you for making my day, week and year with that comment! :)

Nona: No I haven't shifted, but I have opened an account with SBI :)

Anon: :) Thank you. Glad to know you liked it.

Anita: Thank you for commenting. Except for a few hiccups I find these banks better than nationalized banks :)

Anon: I did!! Soon after this incident I opened an account with SBI. I realized that keeping all my peanuts in one account wasn't very wise :)

vanwinkle: They taught me oodles of patience!! :) I deleted my twitter account. Found it so boring!

Kochu: Replied to you via mail :)

Narendra: lol! Thank you! :))

Anonymous said...

oh my holy fri**in God!!

Miranda said...

Let me tell you something from my experience. Banks have one main purpose: to make profit. huge profit!

They don't actually care about their customers. Test that with one credit. If you don't give the money back in time they will start to harass you.

JAY said...

Luv this post.Made me laugh almost uncontrollably and that too in my office!