White Piggy Bank

Lloyds TSB Customer (couldn’t) Care (less)

UNBELIEVABLE! (but sadly true). Today I put my Barclays debit card in the left hand ATM at Lloyds TSB Park Gate. It slops in, rather than the usual glide. It’s stuck – I can tantalisingly see it but it’s out of finger reach (and dang it I forgot my tweezers / pliers / ATM repair kit today).

Plan 2 I think to myself, I’ll push it further in with another card and hope it’ll then eject. Card has now disappeared, screen says insert card, no ejected card. I spy a Lloyds TSB employee just about to enter the premises..

Me: “Excuse me would you be able to..”
Lloyds TSB Employee (with a distinct, overpowering whiff of self importance): “Not working sir, not working.”

Now, from that short utterance I thought he meant HE wasn’t working i.e. off duty, but without another word he just unlocked the side access door and bustled into the bank.

Me (to the disappearing heel of the Lloyds TSB employee): “Thanks for your help.”

So now I’m left weighing up my options outside a resolutely closed Lloyds TSB – I scour the ATM for a phone number – nothing. Do I walk off not knowing whether the machine will suddenly eject my card into the hands of a potential card fraud criminal? Whilst working through my plan another Lloyds TSB (weren’t they, in a previous incarnation, “the bank that likes to say YES”?) employee arrives for work. Huffily Mr Self Important reappears at the door and then deigns to walk over to me.

Mr Self Important (now managing to string words together into a more informative sentence): “I’m afraid the machine is broken. There’s a gate that stops you putting your card in.”
Me: “Well it didn’t stop me putting mine in.”
Mr Self Important: “Who do you bank with?”
Me (mentally predicting the response from the answer I’m about to provide): “Barclays”
Mr Self Important (almost with relief as he doesn’t have to expend any effort with a non-Lloyds TSB customer): “Well we’ll have to destroy the card as there’s no way of knowing that the card belongs to you.”

The fact that I have a wallet full of cards with my name on including a driving licence with a picture of my face on it is apparently not acceptable (!)

Me: “Right. Well, thanks a lot!”

I turn to leave and then can’t help but turn and ask:

Me: “Don’t you think it would’ve been more helpful if you could have put some tape over the slot and left a message saying the machine wasn’t working?”
Blank face from Mr Self Important as he motions to turn his back on me.
Me: “Well? Don’t you?”
Mr Self Important (without much conviction): “Yes I suppose so.”

I don’t think he said “s’pose so” – but that was the level of conviction in his delivery, i.e. he couldn’t care less. Evidently if any customer care exists in the Park Gate Lloyds TSB it is not within the skill-set of this gentleman – the possible irony of it is that he could’ve been the bank manager.

And that’s just my point. If you work for a business, charity, organisation or whatever – you REPRESENT them (at the very least whilst you’re on duty / about to go on duty). Your actions can have huge impacts on the perception of the organisation you work for. Poor perception equals diminished brand which in turn equals diminished market share which extrapolated to worst case scenario equals end of organisation. It’s like that quote about the butterfly flapping it’s wings in South America which alters the atmosphere a tiny amount but through the application of the chaos theory can create a tornado in another part of the world. Simply put “Every little thing counts” (and to misquote The Police song “Every Little Thing He Did Wasn’t Magic”).

The double, triple? (I don’t know I’ve lost count) irony to all of this is that the card stuck in the ATM is a Barclays personalised card (nifty offering they’ve dreamt up) with a picture of my family on it – including me grinning into the sunlight. Now unless I’m attempting to become the next Derren Brown I think it’s safe to say that a card with my picture on it IS my card! Harrumph!

I’m intrigued to know what the reaction would have been should I have had the ‘honour’ of being a Lloyds TSB customer…  Certainly from experiencing their unique brand of customer care first-hand I can vouch that I won’t be joining a queue to move my money into their coffers anytime soon.

(sung – for those that remember the advert – a fitting parody): “Lloyds TSBeeeeeee – the bank likes to saaaaay NO (now get lost!)”

One comment

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  1. Mr T · November 15, 2012

    Update: The @AskLloydsTSB Twitter team responded and I spoke to someone from the Customer Services department this morning (also called Mark). He apologised and advised that my feedback would be passed on to the Park Gate team for them to consider for future interactions with customers. I understand that there may well have been security issues involved in returning my card and that company protocol may have dictated that retrieval wasn’t possible (though he did say in this particular incidence it may well have been possible). However that wasn’t my concern – it was purely about how the situation was conducted and how presenting the information in a polite, customer-focussed fashion would have created an entirely different and positive experience. I did impress upon Mark that it wasn’t a “witch hunt” I wanted to instigate, I was merely highlighting a concern in regards their customer relations and and its impact on ongoing business success (after all, the UK general public / government have a 43.4% financial stake (thanks wikipedia) in Lloyds TSB so it’s in our best interests that they, more than many other UK businesses, do well!)