YOUR EXCELLENT SERIES on call centres could be extended to some other service providers. My recent experience with a bank’s Internet services demonstrates the need. I help a small NGO that set up Internet banking to try to save costs. As the end of the month approached, they tried to pay about 100 people who’d been helping. The first problem was that some branch codes weren’t recognised. A call to the Internet banking help line revealed that where there were only six digits you had to add “00” to get the system to recognise it.
After about 10 had finally been paid, the system cried “Foul!” The monthly spend limit had been exceeded. The NGO had thought it was a daily limit when it was set up, but the system said it was a monthly limit. Nowhere on the web pages could we find any record of the limit – until we hit it.
Two officers had to go to the branch, sign a request to increase the limit, prove (yet again) everything was Fica-compliant and leave assured the limit would be increased that day. Of course, it didn’t happen and calls to the Internet banking help desk left the problem unresolved.
Back at the bank the next day – and after a rage at the branch manager – a service consultant was delegated to fix the problem. Trying to enter the data was a nightmare. It was now month-end and cellphone messages took ages to get through. So the one-time PIN didn’t arrive in time to complete the logon and by the time it did arrive, the system had automatically logged off.
Finally, the bank entered the names and account details manually. We had to sign about 100 forms agreeing to the details it had entered. It seemed we were finally in business.
Of course, we weren’t. We filled out the payment details for all 100, pressed “Pay” and were promptly informed we couldn’t pay more than 10 at a time.
Back to the Internet banking helpline again. After half-an-hour we were assured it was for our protection. That was the way the system worked.
So we redo batches of 10. But after three or four batches, the system ground to a halt. There was “too much activity” on the account.
Back to the Internet banking helpline and, yet again, they couldn’t help. We’d have to wait until the next day. The poor people we were trying to pay would just have to be patient. The system was preventing access to our money for our protection.
Total time for the transaction: 17 hours five minutes, including an hour and 55 minutes talking to helpline. First impressions: 2,5/5 Helpline help: 0/5 Bank help: 2/5 Overall: 0/5 (NB: That’s not an average). Industrial & Petrochemical Consultants