I have become increasingly exasperated in recent weeks by a persistent automated phone survey that pops up every time I go to the bank. I like to go into the local branch for various reasons: although I have internet banking you can’t do everything on-line, and besides, it’s good to have some face-to-face contact. Having a local branch is good for the community and since Nat West is now the only bank in Clarendon Park, I want to support it. Plus, it gets me out of the house and provides jobs for at least half a dozen people. But lately every time I go in there I get a phone call later on, with an automated survey asking me how my visit was and requesting me to choose one of four options in response to a variety of questions. I got so fed up with these that I went into the branch (thereby risking yet another phone call) and asked if there was some way to stop these persistent questionnaires. The woman became very urgent and explained that these surveys were an integral part of their customer service. ‘We want to know if you are happy with the service you’re receiving,’ she said.
‘I’m happy with everything except the surveys!’ I exclaimed. She did smile at that. I managed to extract the information that the phone call is triggered automatically by you putting your card in the card-reader, and that it is possible to do some transactions without putting the card in the machine. In return, since she was so earnest about it, I said I might do the occasional one of these surveys. But if the net effect is to put people off going into the branch, what’s the bleeding point?