oy folks! i ave to tell you that it hurts when you hold on to something becoz of sentiment – and get let down badly! am talkin about my savings account at canara bank. sigh…it used to be so convenient to juz walk down the road, chat up the telugu guy at the counter and get everything done in 5 minutes, regardless of whether it was to get a new checkbook, deposit money, start at FD or make a DD. but its no longer that way. they’ve got a very duty-conscious individual sitting there who’s totally ignorant of customer service. not asking for any extra, mind u. just that they answer the rare question one might have. well, here’s what happens:
me: morning, sir. could you tell me…
this fella actually replies: cant you see i am doing something? you wait madam. be patient”
duly chastised i wait a full 5 minutes before i get damn fidgety. then,
me: i just want to know the balance in my account coz i want to issue a check.
he: what do you mean? (amazingly dense)
me: could you just tell me the balance in my account?
he: do you have your passbook?
me: why? i have my account number
he: you go to that counter (points in the general direction of three counters)
i get bugged and decide to go out to the atm and get a mini statement. why didnt i do it in the first place? simply becoz the bank was open and not crowded. sigh. i try twice at the atm…no dice here. doesnt work. says wrong password. then says try again and so on. i have no choice but to go back to the counter. sigh
me: your atm is not working
he: what? you put the right password eh?
me: of course. i thought i’d save you the trouble of checking my balance (sorry, am smirking now)
he: look madam i have never used atm (wow! smiles – why i wonder)
me: now what do i do?
he: you want to withudraw? or what?
me: i want to know the balance (square A)
he: ok. you tell your account number (phew! at last)
he: see madam, there is so much work at the bank (like i asked him?)
he tells me. and scolds me for not carrying my passbook. naturally i tell him that i assumed that the atm might actually work. to which he goes on and on and on about – i dont know what, because i tuned out. i am really sad because my first ever bank account was at Canara Bank and they are doing this to me now. they were never like this.
cut to HDFC Bank now – i am a customer – and a ‘preferred’ one at that and i gotta tell u they treat us like…well…PREFERRED customers. we ave a ‘relationship’ manager to prove it. this guy (apart from being eye-candy – which really helps, i must say :-P) is the height of courtesy at 6 feet :-D. other than ensuring that we dont get irritated, annoyed and complain about something – he gives us investment advice (yeah…he’s actually got an education in finance), always calls to ensure we can see him before landing up – rather than say he was passing by and thought he’d say hi – and is generally a well behaved dude. i must tell you that last year i actually received a 1-kg strawberry cream cake on my birthday with a huge bouquet. never mind that i hate strawberry (i guess they thought all women love everything pink) – but – it was a lovely gesture.
last month they celebrated their branch anniversary and this relationship manager called to say that he wanted to display some of vidur’s sketches – came by…collected some…displayed them…unfortunately we couldnt go and see the oohs and aahs becoz it was raining pretty heavily that day and we didnt fancy getting stuck in an 8 km trek at night. still. anyway…he returned all the sketches, with one framed, courtesy bank.
dont think i am plugging hdfc – what am tryin to say is – its purely people that make all the difference. and if they dont – it is actually far better to go netbanking. i also have an account at ICICI bank and thought they were the height of service – but – they grew, they automated and they became impersonal….so much so – when i visited them to revive vidur’s account that had to be woken up. they were pretty rude and when i told them that i might as well close the account they said ‘your wish’. how nice is that? incidentally, we had our company account at ICICI, which we closed in 2004, but – we still get monthly statements from them. why? no idea
i am a big fan of netbanking – at least i can sit flexi hours and in whatever attire i choose to access everything i can – if i were to personally visit the bank and stand in line hoping no one’s fiddling with my bike at the parking lot – and that i wont be late for wherever i am going next – it could be so stressful…. so ultimately its people that make the difference. so if you think it is a pleasanter experience at the bank by visiting personally, go. if not….do it from the comfort of your own home. we are the customers and we are king or queen!