But I thought that the ICICI Khayaal aapka series was well done. There is something truly warm and real about an elderly lady being able to speak as much as she wants to a stranger - a bank employee. And the bank employee listening to her into the wee hours of the night. Banks are about speed and efficiency; so its reassuring to know that you can get a listen. Similarly the other one in the series, shows a child comfortably fooling around at the bank while the mother gets the work done. Simple, warm.
Until yesterday, I would have agreed with him. For one, the customer service of ICICI has not been so great in the last year or so. I've heard similar complaints from colleagues, some of who have closed all their accounts with the bank. Secondly, it seemed a bit too far-fetched. Now look at this ad. Would someone in the bank just sit listening to an old lady yak for hours together?
This morning, I walked in to the CMH Road branch of ICICI bank to close my demat account. I've heard enough about how awful it can be when you visit the bank to close accounts. I reached there early so that I did not have to wait long and I could make it to their other insurance branch to surrender my policy before they close at their half-day timings. As expected, I got the first number on the Demat counter and I was pleased.
It was with a bit of surprise that I found an old lady at the 'Demat' counter. She was there to buy 20 grams of gold, on the occasion of Akshaya Trithiya. She was waiting for the guy at the counter (I found out later that his name was Uday). As soon as he arrived, she turned hysterical and started panicking that somebody was waiting for her downstairs. "His name is Shrivathsa. He will come now but he will not wait for me. Somebody please go downstairs and tell him to wait. Please!" Uday tried to find her someone to go down and meet her friend but could not, so what did he do? He walked down to the road himself and brought her friend up to meet her. Then our dear aunty took off into a long exchange of pleasantries with Mr. S, loudly while Uday tried to sort out her documents for her. Each time he started to explain something to her, she cut him off and turned to her friend, because she remembered something else to talk about. On one occasion, it was the weather. She tried to bargain with him on the prices of the gold coin. Then she had another discussion with Mr. S about the difference in the rates at various banks. Our customer service executive patiently explained to her how ICICI bank offers the best rates and what documents she had to sign. Throughout the 30 - 40 minutes that the old lady sat there yakking, he patiently listened to her, addressed her queries and concerns, in almost a replay of the khayal aapka ad.
Even though my work there took only a couple of minutes, I had to wait a good half hour, I did not mind it at all. I was amazed by the care the customer service executive took, of his customer. While three of us waited patiently for the old lady to leave, we did not have to just sit around either. Uday came over to where we were waiting, found out what we were there for and handed out our forms to fill while we waited. When my turn came, I merely had to hand over the form, get his signature and pick up the receipt, all the while he tried to hold a pleasant conversation with me. Okay, he was trying to sell me gold and I told him I was not interested but he was really nice about it. Also, I was already pretty impressed by the calm and pleasant manner in which he carried out his work, so my time at ICICI left me feeling good.
In fact, when another customer had difficulty with getting a token for himself, I got up from where I was and helped him out. Normally, I would give him directions and leave him to help himself but today I was inspired to walk up to the token machine & get the token for the man. Who says that you cannot change the world by example? In fact, the entire experience started off my day pretty well.
My next stop was at the ICICI Prudential office near Mayo Hall. Here again, excellent customer service. The receptionist was very helpful, the customer service executive (Nandish?) explained to me how I could obtain a duplicate policy document, even told me where and how I could obtain the required paper. Upon his advice, I took off to get the document in order. I returned to the bank, requested the receptionist who very kindly helped copy the duplicate request on the paper I had bought. Back to the service desk (priority bank, hah), filled the forms, paid the fees and off I was.
I was wondering whether I should mention the not-so-bright boys I met at the branch. Two boys, who found it impossible to understand "Get a blank paper valued at Rs. 200 and xerox this template on it". How hard is that? After I explained to them how they could get the required paper, they left the building and returned a good 20 minutes later. They wanted a copy of my document because the guys at the court did not understand what they wanted and demanded Rs. 650 from them! Did not understand? How hard is that? Really! Do you understand what you want? If they did not understand, what were they charging you 650 bucks for? Really!
Anyway, I refused to give them my now-filled form because I was not comfortable sharing my policy details with them. The employee accompanying them said if I would give it to her, she would photocopy the document for them and wipe out my details with white ink. Hmm. I was not too happy with that either but I let her have it anyway. Good customer service again. As far as the dumb boys are concerned, I mean. As for me, I still have a nagging uneasiness about giving away my updated form to strangers. The only comfort is that I am going to close the account after all. All's well that ends well, I guess.
The call to the customer care for an updation of my address was smooth and simple too. A day of good customer care experiences, all with ICICI bank.