Recently I am in the mode to write about customer service experiences. So, I decided to write the long pending experience about HDFC bank customer service. I have had an account with HDFC since 2006. Usually I don’t need to deal with the staff thanks to Internet banking. But sometimes, due to various reasons, you just cannot avoid it. One has to go to the branch to submit a physical application along with the needed documents. Today my attempt is to go through few of such experiences when one need to deal the staff at HDFC.
Let me take the more recent incident first. My father holds an investment portfolio linked to an HDFC bank account. This bank account is closed and does not operate any more. I checked with the portfolio agency and they provided an application form and list of documents to submit. In addition to the change of bank account, it also needed a change in the signature. Due to this a signature verification document had to be attached with the application. This document needs to be provided by the new bank and must be on bank’s letterhead. This letterhead was a very special requirement for this particular investment agency. I have written earlier about the customer service experience of that agency as well. The agency is L&T financial service. Nevertheless, one financial institute has setup a process that needs this document in a specific format. The providing institute must provide it. Afterall it is not that HDFC is supposed to provide the document on letterhead of Royal Bank of Scotland. My father went and asked for the document in HDFC bank. The guy gave the document, but printed on plain paper. As expected, application was rejected. My father went again a few times and HDFC bank refused to provide the document on its letterhead. The person in-charge says the given document is sufficient. My father insisted and said that it is written on top of the document that it must be on bank’s letterhead. HDFC bank personnel said, “It is just written on top. I can tear that part away and then where is it written now?” My father is used to the old style where you don’t argue with the official. I then looked on HDFC bank website to raise a complain. There is an online form with title Query/ Feedback / Complaint . However, there is no option there to raise a complaint. They have conveniently tagged every section for queries. Well, I decided to pick just one of the relevant options and raised my query/complaint. In 2 days the same guy called my father and asked him to come to office the get the required document. The same document that he refused to provide 5 times earlier!! This is a document that they can provide and should provide, but the bank employee refused to provide!
The another case is my own experience. I had to close my bank account as I didn’t need it anymore. I went to my home town branch and asked how can I close the bank account. First response was that I have to physically go to the branch where my account it. That branch is in another city about 6-7 hours drive from my hometown. I was shocked at the statement that even today, banking system is so linked to the physical location. I asked the person, is there any way that I can avoid that long travel. I said that there is nothing in the account, I just need to close it. The lady said, I have to travel to that location. Disappointed I came back home. I decided to go through HDFC website to see if there is any option. Not to my surprise there was a simple solution. I can transfer my account to the branch in my hometown and that application has to be submitted in the destination city! What happened after than I leave you once again with a list of chronological events at the end.
At the end it depends on the people that you come across when dealing with any institute. However, it is the people that represents that institute and the level of professionalism and service orientation of that institute. In this case after all that when the person asked me to answer, “Why do I want to close my account?” I had nothing else to say but a smile on my face.
Mulla Nasrudin was stabbed by burglars. But before dying he wrote a note to his wife from the hospital. The last paragraph of it read: “I have been very fortunate because only the day before I had put all of my money and negotiable bonds in my safety deposit box at the bank, SO THAT I AM LOSING PRACTICALLY NOTHING BUT MY LIFE.”