This third story is the last in this series but not the last one in the big schema by any means. Late last week, one morning, my phone rang with urgency and the following conversation ensues.
Caller: I am phoning from XYZ Bank’s mortgage centre.
Me: Yes, good morning.
Caller: I believe you have spoken with our mortgage advisors last week and I am calling to say that you need to call another number to confirm your acceptance.
Me: I telephoned yesterday already.
Caller: I know but I need you to call another number for your acceptance. (My “process” bells are already ringing!)
Me: Ok. Would you be giving me the number I should ring the number on the offer letter again?
Caller: Before I give you the number, I need to ask you some security questions. Can you give me your date of birth please?
Me: Seriously? You called me, right? I am supposed to take your word for it that you are calling from my mortgage provider’s offices. And then you say you need to ID me? This is not in the interest of the security of my personal information. How about you give me your number? I will then call it, ID you before I discuss anything? Does that sound fair?
Caller: I am afraid I cannot give you the number to call before I have asked the security questions.
Do you know that some of your processes may be illogical and making it hard for your customer to keep her part of the contractual obligations to you? Do you care?
Me: I am afraid I will not provide identifying information to an inbound call where I cannot see who is calling and where I have to go by what you say. Sorry.
Caller: Please hold one second. I need to ask my manager.
Me: Sure. (On hold).
Caller: Thanks for holding. My manager says it is ok to give you the number to give your acceptance without the security questions.
Me: Oh really! Thanks. I am so grateful.
This was a completely surreal conversation. Banks hold customers responsible for the safe keeping of their personal information. But then they turn around and set up these inane processes for identification that seem to make it impossible for the customer to keep the information safe. Either way the bank is safe. The customer is simply hopping mad, not to mention prone to fraud and other joys.
I then proceeded to ring the 0800 number provided where I was on hold for 23 minutes listening to REM’s “Everybody hurts” playing as hold music. It caused me some amusement but it may not to many callers to the mortgage centre. But then perhaps this is part of some process we are supposed to understand too?
The aim of this trilogy has been to highlight that:
1. Unbeknowst to managers, employees could be using narrow interpretations of “process”, telling customers how to bypass processes that they deem silly instead of telling their managers, being unimaginative about making quick revenue/ profits or just driving the customers around the bend.
2. In the process, they may be losing revenue and destroying goodwill, neither of which a business should really have to experience.
Do you know what’s going on at the coal face of your business?