Monday, December 13, 2010

Customer Care

Otherwise entitled...

How big boutique shops get away with crappy products that their primary customers don't use anyway!
Let's just get it out of the way, Standard Chartered Bank sucks! Leave aside the fact that they have a next to useless netbanking experience that starts off by making you set a password you'll probably NEVER remember because they have the most non-standard password requirements. Then, if you forget your password, you're only respite is to have a temporary password SMS'd to you once you've given them your ATM/Debit card number and... (wait for it) PIN! But it's not over yet, 'cause the temporary password just let's you create a new login. Yup, you read that right, not reset your password, but create an entirely NEW login; new username and password!

Oh, and did I mention that once you do manage to get in, you can only see transactions upto 3 months ago. Yes, your transactions... transactions you effected through your account beyond 90 days are only available to you on requesting a statement from a branch; and even they're not authorized to pull statements beyond 6 months! (insert face-slap here)

But that's just the online experience. On the ground it gets even better. Did you know that StanChart has less than 6 ATMs in all of Pune? To top it off, almost all are in reasonably remote areas; and the cherry is that you can never find parking spaces near any of them! Even though 3 of them are in branch offices. I'm not kidding, the last time I went to the ATM in Kalyani Nagar, I was instructed by security to park in front of the adjacent building! Following which I had to sign in at security and (surprise, surprise) walk up the drive-in on ramp that led to their office, where lay an ATM so that I could change the PIN on my ATM card. Thank you StanChart for turning a 5 minute activity into a 15 minute ordeal, we feel so blessed to be banking with you.

But here's where it gets really interesting. Because I ran up quite a bit of a balance in my account, they bumped me up to Preferred Customer. What that basically meant was that they assigned me a nanny to nag me every other day about 'investing' all that balance. And when I calmly informed her that I was looking at investing through other avenues, she actually got mad at me!

So, here's the question, how is it possible that big banks (at least in India) can get away with really bad basic services? My guess is that because we're not really their target group. We're just the sideshow they run to absorb spare capacity. The people they're really looking for a large corporate accounts and big ticket investors who want babysitters at their beckon call to run the bank errands for them. Let's face it, that's where they're probably making most of their money.

But then, that's just my opinion... who cares? I don't! I get much better service from my IDBI account; even if their netbanking site has horrible UX, at least you can do stuff on it!


sriram said...

>>a nanny to nag me every other day


Saager Mhatre said...

@Sriram, like you have no idea!