That the sense of customer care in our banks is deteriorating by the day has been well documented, I think.
From the hours that customers spend standing on long queues to dysfunctional ATMs that are a huge inconvenience to a lot of bank users.
I am sure the suggestion boxes in the banking halls have told of the suffering that customers go through, yet the torture continues in most of the banks, such that the very idea of walking into a bank has become frightful.
And I thought I had seen and heard it all, until a colleague of mine recently narrated a horribly pathetic situation he encountered in one of the banks in Blantyre when he wanted to deposit money into a relation’s account.
He walked into a poorly ventilated banking hall, fully packed with evidently bored and exhausted customers. If at all the bank had functional air conditioners, he told me, they had been overpowered by the large crowd in the hall.
Meanwhile, the few chairs reserved for customers had been filled up forcing some customers to sit of the floor as they waited to be served by a few tellers.
One of the female tellers in the bank, with this queue of people waiting to be served, was peeling and eating a mango fruit right in front of the exhausted customers.
My colleague was obviously annoyed and when he ended up at the mango-eating teller’s counter, he voiced out his concerns and enquired from the teller why she took her time peeling and chewing the fruit when customers were waiting to be served.
The teller did not take the rebuke kindly. She told my colleague with a plain face that she was upset by the enquiry and that she could, therefore, not serve him. He had to wait for the next counter.
He left the bank one and half hours after he walked in.
This, for me, is an experience that demonstrates how some banks and their employees sometimes look down on people and take their customers for granted.
With all the lean-staff-arguments that the banks can make, I don’t think there is one that justifies the idea that a customer, who does the bank a favour by giving it business, should spend two hours on a queue just to make a simple transaction like depositing money.
And where in the world does a bank teller peel and chew a mango in front of customers? Just how do colleagues, supervisors and managers let this kind of thing happen in a bank?
Some of the people that walk into banks are patients who shouldn’t be standing for too long; some customers have jobs, they cannot wait forever; some have businesses to run such that spending more than 30 minutes in a bank is costly on their part.
It is, thus, very inconsiderate for banks to try to cut costs by heaping the cost on customers.