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a blog by Chris Barrow

Do HSBC deliver the poorest customer service in the world?

Apart from being sick to death of speaking to people on the Indian sub-continent (makes a change from Poland I suppose) – I get a message on my mobile phone this morning asking me to call “Maria” on a London telephone number – no explanation of the purpose of the call – maybe she wants my vote to appear in Lord Webber’s revival of The Sound of Music. I can’t be bothered and ask Bonnie to make the call for me – haven’t heard from Bonnie since – she is probably listening to multiple choice options and canned classical music. Then in the mail I get a letter from HSBC – wait a minute – no! It’s from Norwich Union’s “centre manager”, John Willmott – who wants me to ring him URGENTLY (it’s in capitals and bold font – so it must be urgent) about the change of address on my household insurance renewal documents. He is in Bishopbriggs, which I think is somewhere in Scotland? Actually – I Google-Earthed his post code and I can see that John is working in a faceless office block, somewhere North of Glasgow – is that your rather downbeat red Renault in the car park John? We are watching you…. Stupidly – and in a moment of abandon – I call the (payable) number and listen to a very nicely spoken lady (well, a recording) spend 45 excrutiatingly slow, cardiac arresting seconds, telling me all about the fact that although I’ve called HSBC, I’m really calling Norwich Union and that my call may be recorded for training purposes. Then – I get multiple choices – none of which include calling John Willmot to URGENTLY discuss my household insurance. So I choose “1” – as good as any other number. Now I’m listening to canned classical music. I’m putting the phone down now – and I’ll pass the letter to Bonnie. Count to to 10, breath deeply, start my life over.

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