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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.
Tags: ,
Current Mood: depresseddepressed
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.