Something of a contradiction here

And customers need to be much better served by real people in online and phone customer service, not just robots that direct you to a series of generic answers to problems.

Finally, banks must embrace better technology to help small businesses who rely on traditional branch services.

I’ll have both please!

James Coney is money editor

Sigh.

11 thoughts on “Something of a contradiction here”

  1. Humans at the other end are no guarantee of usefulness. Most helpdesks ( even the ones who speak English) are of the “have you tried switching it off and back on again?” level. Most helpdesk staff have to keep the punter occupied while they frantically look through their scripts as to why the router is dropping FTP packets, it is rather difficult to program a machine to discuss last night’s Corrie or football.

    And don’t get me started about NHS 111. A robot would be more use in 99% of cases there.

  2. ‘must’

    And if they don’t? You’ll just go to another bank that doesn’t?

    ‘money editor’ I assume that if he could run a bank, he’d be running a bank.

  3. I cannot see why the banking industry canot just sort this out

    Running competing high street bank networks is clearly uneconomic when most people bank online, but some people and businesses depend on it

    So why can’t they set up a chain of well located open at sensible times money shops (perhaps we can call them post offices) through which all people can conduct all business that cannot be done online? This could be collectively paid for through their extortionate profits and for onece might justify the stonking bailout they have just received from the taxpayer – their ‘customers’

  4. I’d like Lloyds Bank to make it possible for me to close O/L the heap of trifling old savings accounts I have. But no, I must go into a branch. It’s not clear which branch – will any old branch do? – but I suspect it’s one I would have great difficulty reaching.

    So they spend a fortune writing to me regularly to tell me that Account A contains £0.00, Account B £0.20, and on and on – a separate letter for each of course.

    What explains this idiocy? Anyway, if I wish to ring the branch where I suspect I must report, tough luck. I get a useless bloody call centre instead. Hanging’s too good for them.

  5. Not just banks— just renegotiated my mobile broadband contract: no option to do this online, need to phone, several abandoned calls and callbacks, 15 minutes of hold music on speaker phone, then:
    38 minutes on phone, to some Indian I can barely understand, most of which is her reading out all the small print —how long it would have taken if I had not said send me the rest in an email I dread to think.

  6. Dearieme, I have no particular expertise in this matter, but what I understand is that a lot of the back end computing in the banks is done by ‘old iron’ that comes from the steam age, and is messed with at their peril.
    Because they fired or otherwise got rid of all the pale, stale, males that actually wrote the software and knew how to run it, the younger (cheaper) Indian programmers can’t change it without buggering something up. Have a look at el Reg for details.
    Hence the stupidity that you refer to.

  7. I ran a Cobol accounting system for 2 decades. There were few AMERICANS who could have done it. I’m giving the Indians faint praise: they aren’t any worse than anyone else.

  8. Bloke in North Dorset

    “ Not just banks— just renegotiated my mobile broadband contract: no option to do this online, need to phone, several abandoned calls and callbacks, 15 minutes of hold music on speaker phone, then:
    38 minutes on phone, to some Indian I can barely understand, most of which is her reading out all the small print —how long it would have taken if I had not said send me the rest in an email I dread to think.‘

    Whist not being a fan of regulation I have one simple one to propose: if you can sign up for a service online you should be able to cancel it online. If that doesn’t up their game all round, nothing will.

  9. @ dearieme
    They send you this letters because the FSA mandated them to do so and the FCA hasn’t cancelled the demand.
    I regularly get letter telling me the interest rate for authorised and unauthorised overdrafts on an account that has never had a facility for an overdraft.

  10. @ dearieme
    If it’s an old account there won’t be a facility to close it online because it wasn’t dreamt off when you opened the account so the contract that you signed didn’t include that option.
    You may be shocked to learn that Lloyds claims to be the most digitalised mainstream bank in the UK (i.e. all the others are worse)

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