Posted by: Admin | November 17, 2012

My new “relationship”

Is it me, or has the world gone mad? Recently, I applied online to open a bank account for a new business venture and was duly phoned by a twelve year old who introduced himself as my potential “business relationship manager”, whatever the Sam Hill that might be. I swear his voice hadn’t fully broken.

We made an appointment, which I wrote down, with his mobile number on a piece of paper. Naturally, said  bit of paper then went walkabout (okay, okay – so maybe it isn’t just the world that’s going crazy!), so on the day of the appointment, I phoned the bank to check the time I was supposed to be there.

After listening to an interminable spiel about how everything I could possibly need, want or dream of is available to me online, my dogged hanging on the line paid off and I got through to the call centre.

“What is your customer number?” broke into Pachelbel’s Canon in D and I shook myself out of the trance into which I had fallen to answer, “Good morning. I don’t have a customer number – I’m about to open a bank account with you.”

“What is your customer reference, Madam?”

“Er… as I say, I don’t have a customer number, or a reference…”

“Are you registered for telephone banking?”


“You need to register, Madam.”

“I-have-an-appointment-this-afternoon-in-branch-to-open-a-bank-account-and-need-to-check-the-time,” I said in a heartbeat before I was cut off. I could feel the confusion across the miles as the call centre operative struggled to move off-script. “Can you let me have the branch number so that I can check my appointment time, please,” I asked breathlessly to the human being at the other end of the line, before the robot returned.

“I don’t have that information, Madam.”

“You don’t have a list of branch telephone numbers?”

“No. I could email the manager for you if you know his name?”

Fortunately, I did. That, apparently, was the best that could be done. Only I had to be transferred – three times – before someone was found who was authorised to use internal email – or something. Quite frankly, I’d lost the will to carry on. Instead, I ended the call, put on my coat, drove into town, walked into the branch and checked the time in person, then went for a coffee until the allotted time slot. There’s progress in communication for you.

My “Business Relationship Manager” (I still don’t know what that means!) wasn’t twelve, but if he has to shave more than once a week I’ll eat my hat. He asked me a few questions, photocopied my proof of ID and filled in a form. He forgot to give me a business card, so I doubt I’ll be speaking to him again. Apparently, he covers three counties, so I’m buggered if I know what a “relationship” with one’s bank manager constitutes these days. Harumph.


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