Tuesday, May 16, 2006

HSBC Woking - example of bad customer service

OK I'm a little unhappy with my local Woking branch of HSBC ( if your American this translates as really pissed off ) .

  1. They have closed the lobby service which used to let me pay in cheques at any time - but they didn't tell their customers who live in Woking !
  2. They didn't open their door at 9.00am on Tuesday - as their notice said on the door.
  3. Later an employee came out and said they didn't open until 9:30am on a Tuesday. So I pointed out to them their own opening time notice and her response was that's wrong there used to be another sign on the outside didn't you see it ? ( Clearly the answer was no - and why should I have a 24 hr watch on the outside of HSBC bank for notices that conflict with other notices.)
  4. The HSBC staff member then just said sorry - in a way that we English know means she wasn't. What she should have said is can I help ... and she could have taken the cheque I had to pay in. So I had to wait again for half an hour.
I have been an HSBC customer for 20 years and if something like this happens again it will not get to 21 years.

PS HSBC's own web information is wrong also - muppets.

Update 19May06:

Credit where credit is due - the front door is now covered in notices with opening times - which look more accurate that those earlier in the week. Now all thats needed is a letter in the post advising the good customers of HSBC in Woking of the changes.
One of the new photocopied notices on the branch door ( this one covers the old notice ).


Ellee Seymour said...

Well done for bringing this to the public domain. I hope you let the bank's CEO know.

Why not change banks, in fact?

Man in a Shed said...

Hi Elle,

I spoke to my brother about this and he already thinks I sound like a NatWest bank advert !

I think what annoys me about complaining to large organisations is the amount of effort you have to put in to do so. ( Find the complaints web page - which will first fob you off with FAQ's and automated replies / bank phone number etc. ) My comments are probably ignored and they've taken up a large amount of my time as well as annoying me in the first place.

This is where blogging comes into its own - as long as I keep within the law - I can complain on my own terms. If they (HSBC) are any good - they will find my comments. If they aren't, then I'll move account and other people will never open theirs.

Large consumer organisations that don't search the blogsphere for comments from their customers will loose business.

By the way there were 2 other customers queuing out there at 9am with me - neither looked too impressed. ( Wish I'd taken a picture of the opening times sign with my phone camera - I'll check next time I walk past. )

Anonymous said...

Indeed. Thank you for drawing my attention to this idiotic failure in customer service and basic civility. I suspect you've started something really big here. You certainly must though take a photo of the sign on the door and post it here. That would show them.

One question though - "we English"? How do you mean?

Man in a Shed said...

Anon - by 'we English' I was try to convey the concept that the reply statement could be understood on two levels. Literal - which any English speaker would grasp - and implied - which an English person could be expected to grasp.

Anonymous said...

I was formerly in Hsbc, if you think Hsbc senior management would worry, you may have been lucky.

Let me give you a colleague's example at UK Hsbc's - India centre.

At our UK call centre in India a guy (James) detected two major security flaws and reported them to his line manager. His Indian manager immediately saw it as a way to take advantge of and gain credit. As the guy refused to give details without creating proof, he was penalised.

However the employee refused and the TM's senior manager too dilly dallied for a month and a half, finally the guy left in Aug. World-Class Service! WoW

Do you think senior managers did anything ..... forget it. Not interested to save a few millions via info that came free. You see Hsbc has to give out orders for software upgradation, all given to companies belonging to present or ex-HSBCians.

This is Hsbc for you. We process complaints, give a number too to the customer, just a few are looked into, its a mechanism to make the guy complaining forget.

THROW OUT GOOD GUYS AND RETAIN THE SCRAP AS THEY WAG THEIR TAILS KNOWING THEY ARE SCRAP. Good guys know their value and companies should have a mechanism to speak to them, but no, the Indian mentality of Corruption flourishes in Call centres.

Its not that good english speaking guys with very good customer service skills are'nt there, their pushed around, ignored, they silently leave or reduce their quality.

UK are too lazy to take decisions, even though they know Indians as managers are useless and a few westerners are required to watch over. Then they say India service stinks.

If you think HSBC would bothered with every complaint, forget it.


Man in a Shed said...


Thats why I blogged about it. This page gets very regular hits. In fact I'm thinking of deleting it as the original customer service issue has been resolved.

The rest of your comments sound very big company to me. Its why I work for myself !

Good luck with your career,


Amit said...

I have something to add to what HSBC is upto. Only that my bad experience was with the credit card department. I had an online a/c with them which I was unable to open because I dont have Internet Explorer and they dont support Mozilla/Firefox or any other browser. So, I asked them to close the Online ac and start sending me paper statements. They closed the online ac alright but never sent me even a single statement. For the first month I made the payment without a statement, that was because the amount was small and I knew all the transactions that I had done. But for the next month I lodged a request pretty early so that I could have the statement before the due date. But it didnt reach me before the due date and it hasnt till today when I already have an alert for the next months due. They are the worst I guess and I dont wish to hide my frustration. I just hope I get the mail id of some senior official in the bank whom we can directly complain to. Because these phone banking people never let you talk to the senior people.

Anonymous said...

This bank has unrivalled levels of appaling customer service. Everyone should leave them

Anonymous said...

I recently switched from BoA to HSBC and just to learned what is bad customer service.
They are snobish people at the branch and the phone service, you have to wait for 30 minutes just to talk to someone!!!
and it took them 4 days to deposit a check from new jersey!!!
I am going back to BoA. I have been with them for 4 years and it has never been a problem like this! BoA's staff on the phone are very efficient and fast.

HSBC IS the definition of BAD customer service.



Anonymous said...

Hi there,
That's what happens when you promote f**k heads instead of geniun talent..I have a first hand experience of the way they manage employees especially here in India..though I did come across some pretty nasty cases in UK as well..the hr policies themselves are good but the managers are a bunch of ba*******ds..no ethics and the last thing they have in mind is customer service..employees are bullied on a daily basis and there is no one who'll listen to them..every man worth his salt has left or is in the process of leaving hsbc..buggers I tell you..and thanks for the blog spot mate..had to vent my fury somewhere..