With 24-hour access to your bank accounts via online and telephone banking, it’s never been easier to manage your money. So why does calling your bank sometimes leave you tearing your hair out?
Automated telephone systems aren’t always a bad thing. For example, if you simply want to check your balance, they come in very handy.
But every now and then, you’ll have a question about your bank account that can’t be answered by a computer. Unfortunately, trying to get through to a human being can feel like a bit of a battle against a barrage of recorded options, none of which seem to include, ‘speak to an adviser’.
Frustration with automation
My brother recently called NatWest to order a new card and found it was a frustrating experience. After entering his customer number three times (it wasn’t recognised on the first two attempts), he had to wade through five more options before getting the option to speak to someone.
When he eventually got through to an adviser they were polite and helpful, but this was overshadowed by the length of time it took him to get through in the first place. And he’s not alone. In response to Richard Wilson’s guest Conversation on automated services, commenter Wavechange said:
‘There is nothing more annoying than going through all the button pressing when you know that you need to speak to a human being. All service providers should offer this option at the start.’
Despite the growing trend for automation across a wide range of services, not all banks have succumbed. First Direct is often praised for how quickly it deals with incoming calls; something which has no doubt contributed to its number one ranking in the Which? customer satisfaction scores for bank accounts.
Less doesn’t equal more
It could be argued that automated systems are a necessary evil for the bigger banks due to the high volume of calls they receive. But at a time when public confidence in the banking system has hit rock bottom, the least banks could do is make themselves more accessible to their customers.
Simplifying the impersonal call menus would be a big step in the right direction. When you call your bank, would you prefer to speak to somebody immediately? Or do you find automated systems useful for the most part?
What do you think about automated customer service helplines?
I don't like them (63%, 185 Votes)
It depends on the individual helpline (35%, 104 Votes)
I like them (2%, 6 Votes)
Total Voters: 305