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20 August 2014 @ 10:08 pm
Catching up  
Both yesterday and today I had lunch with an ex-workmate whom I haven't seen for a few months. He's been in the city on a training course for a couple of days, having moved into a new role in the bank. Really enjoyed catching up with him, but it brought a lot of bad memories back - talk of "uplift" teleconferences each Monday, that are compulsory for those who didn't meet all eleven KPIs in the previous week, for example. And the same tired old lines being trotted out: "So what are you going to do differently this week to improve on that result?" And everyone having to attend these "Raving Fan Revolt" sessions; urghh, my twitter feed has been full of that for weeks now, it's like bathing in a pool of someone else's warm vomit.

Added to all of that, I was talking to a friend from a branch down south, the other night, and she mentioned how she has to make at least four unsolicited phone calls per day, in an attempt to make an appointment for one of the bank's sales specialists, but she's not allowed to talk about product when she calls - she can only tell the customer that it's a good idea to get their banking reviewed. Who has time for that?! Anyway, they've been told that if they don't make their calls, they'll be getting calls from the area manager. You'd think he'd have more important things to do, yes? To me, it smacks of bullying, and just hearing about it made me feel really anxious.

You'd also think that after 21 years there I'd really miss the place, wouldn't you? I miss what it used to be, but not what it's become. And then the Financial Review last weekend was trumpeting about bank's financial results, and how their biggest improvements were in productivity gains ie doing more with less, and I knew exactly what they were on about, and how those gains are achieved. It's the frontline staff, and fewer of them all the time, being flogged for every sales opportunity, to the point where walking into a bank is a profoundly disturbing experience for customers, with overtones of MacDonalds "Do you want fries with that?" enough to set your nerves on edge. I won't set foot in a bank if I can possibly avoid it, these days, to the point of depositing cheques via the atm on the weekend.

Unfortunate, in the extreme, that it's the only business I know.
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Current Mood: depresseddepressed
 
 
 
mrua7mrua7 on August 20th, 2014 12:25 pm (UTC)
Sad to say that it's the same all over. Times have changed, it's not about people it's about the almighty dollar. I cringed reading about the meetings, and phone calls and I agree, bullying. I worked in retail sales for 32 + years and went through all that. It was no longer about customer service, it was all about being an 'automaton.' Yep, would you like fries with that? I hated having to ask those trite questions and being forced to greet a customer with 'lines' instead of a genuine hello.

I feel your pain.

To this day I cringe when I have to go near a shopping mall. And strangely when I'm in a shop, I've become so aware of the way I'm spoken to or treated by a sales clerk. I used to let things go, but now, I don't hesitate opening my mouth to complain when someone treats me like a non-entity. Having to follow rules that we don't like, shouldn't mean that you should be discourteous to your customers. Granted some people are miserable in their jobs, and I feel for them having been through it myself...but still no excuse to let the world know how miserable you are and take it out on your customer.

We're all dealt a hand and need to make the best of it until we can hopefully move on to a better situation.

Gee, apologies, I didn't mean for this to turn into a rant.
miwahni: MFU Illya Sulkingmiwahni on August 21st, 2014 11:03 am (UTC)
It was no longer about customer service,...
You're so right. It went from being an organisation that was totally focused on the customer, to an organisation that just didn't care about building the rapport and earning the right to offer something, and instead only looked as far as the current sale.
Go ahead and rant, my original post turned into one as well! I'm glad you managed to get out also.
mrua7mrua7 on August 21st, 2014 12:56 pm (UTC)
Catharsis....for sure.
Minoriminori_k on August 20th, 2014 01:42 pm (UTC)
Wow, the uplift meeting sounds very similar to my business! I'm not in financial industry, in system engineering industry. I belong to corporate planing department and watch monthly sales and profit figures... And it's fifth fiscal month yet but this years those figures are bad. So board members' attention fully focus on 'what options do we have to improve them.' I'm bit tired to hear those questions... Agh.
miwahni: Pros BD tablemiwahni on August 21st, 2014 11:06 am (UTC)
They're awful questions! I used to throw it back to my manager, if he asked me what I was going to do differently - "What do you suggest? I've tried this and this and this so far." And then listen to him stumble and mumble while he hunted for an answer. Sometimes I think they ask those questions because they don't want to think for themselves, and they think they're "leading" or "managing" by asking them.
I hope your figures improve, so that they stop asking you those questions too.
Strike while the irony is hot: [EMATE] CUPPAdraycevixen on August 20th, 2014 05:38 pm (UTC)

I'm so happy for you that you managed to get out of there and in to a much better situation before you were driven mad. ♥

I do my banking online and through the ATM but the last time I had to actually go in to the bank to change an account I couldn't believe the laundry list of things I was asked and it probably added about 15-20 minutes to the amount of time I was in there. Luckily I'm aware enough of how these things work not to hold it against the client services person but I can easily see how unpleasant some customers might get in response to it.
miwahni: Random Dead parrotmiwahni on August 21st, 2014 11:08 am (UTC)
If anyone asks me how my new job compares to my old, my stock answer is "well I'm no longer heading towards an early death from a stress-related illness, so I guess that's something."

Isn't it awful, though - you think you'll be in and out with a quick question or simple request, instead you get the Spanish Inquisition. Which nobody expects.... *g*
kiwisuekiwisue on August 20th, 2014 07:21 pm (UTC)
I have to go in to That bank every few months because it's where my club's account is (I'm Treasurer). They're always very nice, but I get the feeling that if I had something other than a bog standard non-profit society account they'd think they had to sell me something.

Commonwealth used to be a lot like that too, but I think they've improved. My normal bank is ANZ and I thought they were largely immune - but last week I went in to pick up some American $ and they tried to sell me on a 16 months interest free mortgage transfer - I have mine with an industry credit union, so no thanks!

I guess I'm saying, you're lucky to have gotten out of that environment and are enjoying your work again.
miwahni: Pros BD tablemiwahni on August 21st, 2014 11:14 am (UTC)
Well someone isn't doing their job properly - if all you have with THAT bank is the club account, you are absolutely PRIME for the questions. "I can see you don't have your banking with us at present, but you're in here to do the club banking. Wouldn't it be simpler if you could do your personal banking at the same time? When would be a good time for you to sit down with our Customer Service Specialist to go over your banking needs? Not only could we save you time but we may be able to save you some money as well."
Be prepared, the day will come. And you can see I paid attention in branch staff meetings. *g*

Actually 16 months interest-free on your mortgage is a pretty good deal, unless it then reverts to a higher rate. Best rate on the market at the moment is loans.com.au with ongoing (not a honeymoon offer) standard variable 4.54%. Not that I'd know, or anything. :-D
byslantedlight: Doyle drinking uh-huh look (magenta_bluebyslantedlight on August 21st, 2014 11:25 pm (UTC)
Nice to know that you've absolutely done the right thing with your move, by the sounds! *g*

Interestingly, I've found the couple of branches of my bank that I use over here to be the opposite - I actually feel as if I'm being dealt with by a person who may well have stock-questions to ask, but as a person sees me as a person (and the non-fit of some of the questions, sometimes, and who isn't afraid to agree with me about that). Maybe they're just being well trained, but I much prefer going into my bank than having to deal with companies over the telephone. Yeurch! It's one of the big banks over here, too. Of course the big banks are all completely screwing us over from the top - but at least there are friendly faces at the bottom... *headdesk*

It makes me think of the companies who go out of their way to be the opposite of what you're describing too - that advertising ploy where it comes over all chummy and and as if they're treating you as a real person. A bit of me presumes that they're still not, really, but I'd like to be convinced that they are, because I will go with those companies over the others. Which makes me wonder if it's just not caught on enough yet, or if the majority of companies, like the ones you describe, have just decided they can't quite be bothered cos people will just put up with it...
miwahni: Pros BD tablemiwahni on August 22nd, 2014 03:07 pm (UTC)
It's only recently that the change occurred, from staff who knew you and really did treat you like an individual, to staff who were going through the pre-programmed motions. Thing is, they do still really care about customers, it's just that they're subject to "observations" that get reported back, and if they're not displaying the proper behaviours (opening the 360 degree view, talking about products that customers don't have with the bank) then they get performance managed. It puts them under a lot of stress, too, when they're employed as tellers but suddenly they have targets to meet as well.