Standard Chartered Bank’s treatment of a Senior Citizen.

I have had an amazing start to this week. There have been three stories that I wish to post on my blog about Senior Citizens, Service and relationships. I shall do so in the next three posts unless something more urgent or interesting comes up.
The first of the stories is about a very good friend of mine who is a Senior Citizen. He is 75 and one of the gentlest people that I have ever known. I help him with his email and some other formal correspondence as he is completely lost with computers and requests me for help, which I am very happy to extend.
My friend, let us call him Anand, opened a bank account when he was 15 years old as a Minor’s Savings Bank account with his father as a joint account holder and guardian with the Lloyds Bank in Mumbai then known as Bombay. In the sixty years hence, that bank has undergone many changes, merging with, being taken over etc and went through new names such as Grind lays, ANZ, and finally, now it is Standard Chartered Bank. For sixty years, Anand has remained a steadfast loyal customer of the bank despite the many metamorphoses that it has gone through. Most of the employees there today were not perhaps born when he opened his account!
His Savings Bank today, is carrying a credit balance of over INR 300,000. He also has a couple of other long term deposits with the bank.
A few years ago, when Anand wished to go overseas, he had applied for and obtained a credit card from Standard Chartered Bank (SCB), which allowed him to use it for foreign exchange use over seas. Being a very careful spender, Anand has always been sparing in the use of the credit card and in settling the bills whenever they came, well before the due dates.
Early this year, SCB advised Anand that his Silver Card was due for renewal and considering his record, SCB was very happy to offer him a Gold Card with additional facilities. Anand accepted the offer and completed the formalities. Unfortunately when the card came through a courier service Anand was not at home and the card was returned. Since then, there have been phone calls and reminders between Anand and some Customer Service Call Center about this card and suddenly, last week, Anand received a call from the Call Center advising him that the card will be issued to him only if he gave SCB a letter authorizing SCB to debit his Savings Bank Account with any charges on the card.
Naturally, Anand was very upset and regretted his inability to issue such a letter. He requested the caller to send him a letter with reasons as to why this requirement has suddenly come about. The Caller advised Anand that this was BECAUSE ANAND IS A SENIOR CITIZEN! This was more shocking and Anand insisted, that a letter convey this to him. The caller, no doubt just a Customer Service Representative, expressed her inability to arrange for one. She advised Anand that since he was unwilling to give the desired letter, THE CREDIT CARD WAS BEING DE-ACTIVATED WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT!
Anand had had enough and came to me with a request to type out a letter confirming this development and placing on record the fact the card had been de-activated. He desired to do this, as he did not want to suddenly discover that someone else had been using his deactivated card. I did as he requested and Anand promptly took the letter to the local branch of SCB and requested acknowledgment of receipt in a duplicate copy. The local branch REFUSED TO ACCEPT THE LETTER. They advised him to write a letter to their Card Center in Bangalore with a copy to some Customer Service Executive in Mumbai and also send an email to the Credit Card division.
Anand came back to me for these letters and email and all that was done last night. He has sent off the letters and copies by Registered Post and now is hoping that he will receive some response.
Is this how a Multinational Bank of repute should treat its loyal and long-standing customer? Should not the Call Center be taught to treat customers in a better way? Should the local office of the bank not handle a customer’s problem without being bureaucratic about it? What do you think Anand should do with his Savings Bank Account with SCB?

Returned NRI’s observations.

My young friend Anil has returned to India from the USA after having had a successful career as a Professional as well as an entrepreneur.

Since his return however, he has been having problems adjusting to the Indian way of living and has decided to use his blog to let off some steam. I have offered to debate him on the list of woes that he has posted on.

There are a couple of very nice posts there and I recommend them to my regular visitors with a request to leave your comments on them as well. Anil needs some TLC from us veterans!!

Do you agree with him?

Returned NRI’s observations.

My young friend Anil has returned to India from the USA after having had a successful career as a Professional as well as an entrepreneur.

Since his return however, he has been having problems adjusting to the Indian way of living and has decided to use his blog to let off some steam. I have offered to debate him on the list of woes that he has posted on.

There are a couple of very nice posts there and I recommend them to my regular visitors with a request to leave your comments on them as well. Anil needs some TLC from us veterans!!

Do you agree with him?

Tata Indicom India – Horrible Customer Service.

I use Tata Indicom India’s broad band connection for accessing the Internet. I have been using their service for more than a couple of years and have finally come to the conclusion that I shall not renew my current contract with them when it comes up for renewal in three months’ time.

It has been my experience that at least once, and often twice a month, their service gets disconnected for some reason or the other and I have to go through the agonizing process of first talking to their call center, who give guarantees that are never fulfilled. Let me illustrate my latest experience.

On August 21, 2008 when I tried to access them, I was unable to. I rang up their local engineer who looks after the area where we are located. He said that he would come around and attend to the problem and never did. I lodged a telephone complaint with the company at 8.30 pm and I was assured that the problem will be solved within 24 hours. The next day, the 22nd inst, I tried to contact the engineer without success as either he was switching off his phone or not answering. Much later, in the evening, he finally came on line and assured me that if I called him up after some time, he will be able to guide me to re-set my computer to get access to the Internet. When I called again, he was once again not available. This was after I had once again spoken to the call center where I was assured that my problem would be resolved in just a few hours!

Late at night on the 22nd, I finally got him on the telephone and he said that he was in Sholapur and would return the next day and attend to my problem.

The engineer finally landed up on the 23rd morning and discovered that everything was working alright and suggested that perhaps the router was to blame. He offered to procure a new router and disappeared. Late in the afternoon, he rang me up and asked me to switch on the router and presto, it started working. The problem was with the local distribution center and not with my router. It took them three days to find out this problem and solve it. In the meanwhile, the service center, just acted as post offices do and kept assuring me that my problem will be solved “soon”!

This is not the kind of customer service that I expect from the house of Tatas. I was among those that welcomed Tatas taking over VSNL and expected improvement in their services. I am sad to say that I was wrong.

Losers can get lucky! A tested guide to change your luck!

I was complaining to a friend that I am not very lucky with raffles, lotteries, lucky-dips etc to get away from a persistent attempt by him to get me to buy a raffle ticket. His persistence paid off but, although I did not win, I got reflecting, and did some research on being unlucky. Here is what I found, an old email from another friend. I quote it in its entirety.

The loser’s guide to getting lucky
By Professor Richard Wiseman
University of Hertfordshire

Why do some people get all the luck while others never get the breaks they
deserve? A psychologist says he has discovered the answer. Ten years ago, I
set out to examine luck.
I wanted to know why some people are always in the right place at the right
time, while others consistently experience ill fortune.
I placed advertisements in national newspapers asking for people who felt
consistently lucky or unlucky to contact me.
Hundreds of extraordinary men and women volunteered for my research and,
over the years, I have interviewed them, monitored their lives and had them
take part in experiments.

Professor Wiseman’s top tips

The results reveal that although these people have almost no insight into
the causes of their luck, their thoughts and behaviour are responsible for
much of their good and bad fortune.
Those who have succeeded at anything and don’t mention luck are kidding

Larry King
Take the case of seemingly chance opportunities. Lucky people consistently
encounter such opportunities, whereas unlucky people do not.
I carried out a simple experiment to discover whether this was due to
differences in their ability to spot such opportunities.
I gave both lucky and unlucky people a newspaper, and asked them to look
through it and tell me how many photographs were inside.

Professor Wiseman’s formula came too late for some…
I had secretly placed a large message halfway through the newspaper saying:
“Tell the experimenter you have seen this and win £250.”
This message took up half of the page and was written in type that was more
than two inches high.
It was staring everyone straight in the face, but the unlucky people tended
to miss it and the lucky people tended to spot it.
Everything in life is luck

Donald Trump
Unlucky people are generally more tense than lucky people, and this anxiety
disrupts their ability to notice the unexpected.
As a result, they miss opportunities because they are too focused on looking
for something else.
They go to parties intent on finding their perfect partner and so miss
opportunities to make good friends.
They look through newspapers determined to find certain types of job
advertisements and miss other types of jobs.
Self-fulfilling prophecies
Lucky people are more relaxed and open, and therefore see what is there
rather than just what they are looking for.
Luck is believing you’re lucky

Tennessee Williams
My research eventually revealed that lucky people generate good fortune via
four principles.
They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities, make lucky
decisions by listening to their intuition, create self-fulfilling prophesies
via positive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude that transforms
bad luck into good.
Towards the end of the work, I wondered whether these principles could be
used to create good luck.
I asked a group of volunteers to spend a month carrying out exercises
designed to help them think and behave like a lucky person.
Dramatic results
These exercises helped them spot chance opportunities, listen to their
intuition, expect to be lucky, and be more resilient to bad luck.
I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have
of it

Thomas Jefferson
One month later, the volunteers returned and described what had happened.
The results were dramatic: 80% of people were now happier, more satisfied
with their lives and, perhaps most important of all, luckier.
The lucky people had become even luckier and the unlucky had become lucky.
Finally, I had found the elusive “luck factor” .

Here are Professor Wiseman’s four top tips for becoming lucky:

Listen to your gut instincts – they are normally right.

Be open to new experiences and breaking your normal routine.

Spend a few moments each day remembering things that went well.

Visualize yourself being lucky before an important meeting or telephone
call. Luck is very often a self-fulfilling prophecy.