Saturday, February 28, 2009

Customer Care, Expect Anything But Care….

As I travel quite often so its a little dangerous for me to carry a lots of cash. Generally I don't carry much but that only which is suitable at the places where plastic money is not used , for example, bus ticket. Now, its not possible that your account has loads of cash all the time, at least its not possible for a poor guy like me, so at times, I do use my credit cards too. I am carrying cards for almost all the major banks but there are still some, whose cards I don't yet have and HSBC is among those few. As I am at home so I thought why not use this opportunity to make one from it as well. And the story starts from here, a painful story if you may want to say so!

The first point of contact is to check that do you have  contact number of some marketing guy who can help you in this process. I checked that whether in some deep dark corners of my cupboards, I have one or not? Luckily(for some time)  I had one. So I called him only to find some lady over the other end. When asked that where is that guy, she simply said, that guy or any other as well, never carried this number. So how come I have it noted with me? Never mind. So now what? Next point of contact, as like an obvious choice, bank's customer care, people who actually get paid to help customers or would be customers. So I did call on the customer and a sugar quoted voice welcomed me with a mile long welcome note. I asked that I want to apply for a new credit card so it would be just great if she can help me in the process. She just stopped me saying that this number is not the right number to enquire about all this. Hmmm so which number is the right one? She gave me another number and asked to call there. Upon asking that can she transfer my call to the other number, she said in a very innocent voice, this facility is not with them. No probs mamasita! Let's call the other number , I said to myself.

When I called on the 2nd number, once again , there was a huge welcome for me with a mile long welcome note once again. I heard that already so I just came straight to business which was how to apply for a new card? And guess what I had to hear, this number is not the right number to contact for this service! Okay so now I am pist off! And I blasted on that lady like anything. But it seems , they are trained or habitual to hear all this on a daily basis so she just kept on saying a polite sorry and her inability to help me further. She asked me to call on the same number where I called just now before her as that is the right number to check about cards. Yeah thanks for telling! I called and you can very well imagine how would I had sounded? The lady( there was another one this time) mentioned apologies for so many times and said some fresher must have said it by mistake that this is not the right number. Anyways, back to business and the answer was that HSBC has stopped taking direct applications for cards here in my place. Ahan and why so, its company policy so she didn't have any idea. So how do I go for one now? She asked me to check the co-branded card which HSBC offers with couple of shopping outlets. And how do I do that, for this they had no idea, not even had the contact details for any outlet in my city. Great , thanks for the big help.

So now I was searching for the outlet numbers in my city which do offer this co-branded card thingy. Somehow, after an hour long search, I did find a number of a mall called Westside which has an offering like this. I called them up and asked that how do I go for the card application for which I was told this doesn't happen here and bank people do it. Give me a break now! I had to explain him the entire story which I heard since morning to clear the picture. After hearing, that guy told me that I can get my card applied if I shall become a member of their mall because, once one becomes a member of the mall, his status is sent to the bank and than bank people start following the person up. And how does one become a member of the mall, upon the shopping of  worth 2000INR. He came with an "exciting" offer also that I can become member by doing a shopping of 1000Rs at the moment but I have to make shopping of another 1000Rs in the same month. Great so to apply for a card (which I almost didn't want to have now) , I have to spend 2000 bucks extra in addition to whatever bank will charge. Sorry its a too costly bargain for me , not interested. When I said this, the guy asked me that do I want membership just for the card , if yes than I can avail a paid membership for just 150Rs. Wow! Now that's what I call a loophole. Just compare 2000 bucks with 150 bucks, that's a real smart deal eh? Well he told me that I can come to the mall, pay 150 bucks and than I shall be eligible to apply for the card. Good , I said this and put the phone down. So am I going for it now? Well , the answer is no, I am not , at least not at the moment. Its a little too much hassle for me as the mall is much far away from my place and just for a card, I won't be going that far. Besides this, I do have another cards so I am not that eager to get the card as well. The only thing which stood out from this is that customer care is the only place where you can expect anything, sweet talks, huge apologies, a VIP welcome but just not what you are actually there for, care, solutions for your issues!

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