Technology is a wonderful thing. No really it is. It’s amazing. It’s transformed the world around us and I love it. But (and this is a big but) sometimes you just need to talk to someone. I found myself in this exact situation yesterday. I needed to talk to someone. Namely a bank. I wasn’t fussy about which bank. I would have preferred my own but I was willing to be flexible. You must all know the saying ‘If needs must” and my needs definitely needed someone that wasn’t a computer to talk to.
So with all of this in mind I begin with my bank Natwest. I track down a number for the branch that I need. Sadly it’s an 0845 number and all I had was my phone. For those of you in the States, you might not understand what this means so let me explain. An 0845 number will cost you an arm and a leg when you’re not calling from a land line. If you happen to have only a mobile you need to brace yourself for an almighty bill at the end of the month if you call any number that begins in these 4 digits. Unfortunately I was on a tight schedule and so I had no choice but to call that horrid number.
The phone doesn’t even ring before I’m told that all their advisors are busy and that I should try to solve my problem online. I am very aware of their online features and know that my problem cannot be solved that way. If it could I wouldn’t have bothered wasting my money on the very expensive call. I eventually manage to get through to someone who again tries to send me online. I explain to them – very nicely – that my problem is one that I would like to talk to someone about. He tells me he can’t give me branch specific information because I haven’t been connected to the branch.
If I could have done I would have reached through the phone and slapped him.
I had looked for the number for the branch and he tells me that it isn’t who they’ve put me through to. Frustrated by my bank whose slogan by the way is “helpful banking” I say goodbye and try another bank.
Bring on Barclays I think!
I call Barclays go through the same automated service only this time they’re having me talk to a machine to get any where.
Machine: Please tell me which branch you wish to speak to.
Machine: Please tell me what banking service you require.
Blah, blah, blah!
I just want to talk to a real person!!
However, I do as asked and tell the machine what I want only to be confronted with the same natwest problem. I do NOT reach the branch. I reach another call centre despite dialling a number that was meant to be for the branch. This guy gives me a direct number for the branch.
Hallelujah I think! I can finally speak to someone that will be able to help me with my problem.
I dial the number. The phone rings. I wait. The phone keeps ringing. I wait some more. I wait one minute. The phone is still ringing. More waiting. I wait two minutes. The phone cuts out.
Clearly no one wants to talk to anyone anymore. Maybe what I should do is just cancel all my bank accounts. If they don’t want to speak to me why should I bother allowing them to hold on to my money?
The moral of the story? Don’t call a bank from your mobile. You will just be frustrated at your mounting phone bill. Call them from the comfort of your home when you can put them on speaker and do other things.