Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Not Listening Bank

Call up HSBC's phone banking hotlines in Hong Kong, and the first thing you hear after selecting your preferred language is a recorded PR message telling you that HSBC has won an award for having the best customer service in Hong Kong.

If they're really interested in serving the customer, wouldn't it be better to go straight to the choice of services, instead of wasting the customer's time by subjecting him or her to half a minute of self-congratulatory BS first?

Incidentally, am I the only one who's tired of the increasingly meaningless use of the word hotline? Originally, this meant a point-to-point telephone line that was permanently connected, i.e. "hot", like that linking the Kremlin and the White House. Then it became extended to permanently staffed emergency lines like those of suicide prevention agencies such as The Samaritans. Now it seems to be applied to any telephone line that purports to provide customer service, even those that put you on hold for 20 minutes before connecting you to an operator - maybe these should be called coldlines instead?

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