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How many millions do banks waste on poor process?

posted 30 Nov 2011, 09:44 by Putney Basketball   [ updated 1 Aug 2015, 01:35 ]

I called Santander today asking how to change the details of an account. I wanted to add a new user to the accounts clipDO holds with them. I get to speak to someone after some generic automated options.

Its then that things get silly. I am asked to confirm my name. I am told that’s not right. We try again, do they have John, Jon, Jonathan… I wonder what they typed in at opening. If they are as dyslexic as I am we could be here all night. We get there in the end. It was the missing middle name.

I am then asked for my address. I hand this over and am told that’s not right. We go through a few loops of this until I understand they have some post office DB or other source of addresses so now its a game of guess what’s in the DB… Those of you with addresses that are easily varied, flats, roads with two names, cross street names etc. will understand the pain here. "I live at 66 Acacia Avenue", "thats not what we have sir".... We get there in the end…

I am a little tired now and we are 9 mins in already

Next…"do you have blah"? No. "Ok what’s blah"?. I go into the account on the web and tell the nice lady. DOB.. managed that in one. We are there… "what would you like to do again" I can hear her think?

Right.. you wanted to add a name to the account. “I need to send you a form to do that”, “would you like it emailed or posted”? I choose the email. It arrives as we conclude the call. There is just a simple plain form. No info pre-filled, no specifics about me or my account, nothing. Its just a form.

So now I ask the nice lady… “why did we have to go through all that”? “Why when I asked to add a name did you not just send the form”?

“security” I am told. Of course security. “could I not just forward this blank form to anyone now”? Actually it is even available here on their website: Change of Details Form on Santander Web

She says “security” again… a little less convinced but sticking to the now clearly very silly script.

This kind of thing really annoys me. Think of the multiples of 17 minutes wasted on such processes. I kick myself for not google-ing it first. I DID look if there was any way to add someone online in the account pages but no luck... which I was not remotely surprised about. 

We are all the poorer for such process stupidity as it saps efficiency and growth. Let's see what Santander have to say in a few weeks....

- Unpdate: They had nothing to say