Since ATM’s and automatic deposit I have not paid banking much attention. Yesterday, I made a very rare visit to one of my banks many branch offices to open an account. From the time I opened the door to their lobby my impression of banking changed forever.
First of all there is not a receptionist who greets you, offers you a bottle of water or cup of coffee even if you just came in to make a deposit. What they have replaced this position with is the ‘sign-in here’ kiosk and two or three padded chairs to sit in. I fortunately did not make it to the uncomfortable seating since a gentleman, Rod, came up while I was signing in to ask if he could help. I told him what I was there for and he said, ‘OH that would be Steve who you need to talk to’. Grabbing his cell phone and reaching for Steve’s business card off his desk he called Steve… “Steve, you have a customer here, when will you be back?’ Rod asked over the phone. “2:30!?… I take care of this one for you”, Rod replied to the phone. Rod said he would take care of opening my account since Steve, who is the business specialist, will not be back until 2:30PM…it was 12:30 as we were speaking.
As I sat down to get this ordeal over with I was told by Rod that the bank now has specialist who handle specific tasks and they only have one specialist for each task, but since he was the former specialist in Steve’s position he could get thing taken care of for me… If Rod had not been there I would have had to come back in two and half hours to get my account open.
What should have taken ten minutes drew out to thirty minutes since Rod was not as familiar with the online application as he thought. He couldn’t find the answer to the questions it was asking him on the screen and error out…after awhile of trial and error, he got things straightened out and got all of my paperwork in order and then asked how much I was going to deposit. I presented him with the check and he said…’Good, then take that check and your new deposit slips over to the teller and they will take care of you”… I sat back and remembered my last experience and said to myself, ‘Last time I opened an account they processed the deposit and all of this running around…what happened?’
So I gathered up all of the papers and my temporary check book and deposit slips and headed over to the teller. Of course I needed to fill out the deposit slip and reached over to get the pen and the pen that was chained to the counter was out of ink…so I stepped to the next counter, that was closed, and used that pen. Meanwhile the teller asked if she could help the next person in line. And that person must have be making a deposit for a lemonade stand or something and had three bags of coins and four stacks of cash to deposit, which caused me to have to get back into line to wait for the next teller. After all of that, I got the same teller..
I handed my deposit slip over the counter and she keyed in the information and went through the gyrations she has obviously gone through many times and then stopped…’Oh, I will need a manager’s OK, since this is a New Account.” In a few seconds a lady comes over and steps into the booth and asked ‘How are you doing?’. She looked over the papers and nodded to the clerk and keyed in something into the computer and then we were back in business. I was given my deposit slip and ‘Next!’…
Gone forever are the days when you walk into a bank and are treated with outstanding customer service. Gone are the times when someone opening a Business Account is ushered off to a private office where you are assigned a Vice President for your account. Gone is the comforting feeling that your money is being handled with care…. Somehow, I get the feeling that the banking industry was bought by the postal service….