Wednesday, 11 June 2014


Looking Upwards at HSBC
(Photo credit: lipjin)
HSBC has, in a moment of rare brilliance, broken its IVR. Not that it was ever an IVR to write home about in the first place, but now they've really cemented things and ensured it doesn't let you do telephone banking.

The one thing you'd want a telephone banking system to do, really. But then my expectations are probably set too high. Maybe I should expect my phone banking system to be set up to let me craunch a marmoset or perhaps provide me with philosophical inspiration. Because it sure as hell can't perform a transaction.

IVR is, in case you're interested, Interactive Voice Recognition. It's the phone system OR PRESS It doesn't really have to be about voice, it can be keypad response. I'll never forget Rick Dees' highly amusing breast self examination hotline IVR gag: "Welcome to the Rick Dees breast self-examination hotline. Press one. Now press the other one."

Anyway, if you want to transfer money between accounts and you have multiple accounts (I do. There isn't enough room in one account to hold all the money I have, see?), you are now presented with a list of accounts to debit. Let us assume I want to transfer from my number two account to my number one account.

Foryour ONE.

So you press two.

Foryour HSBC.UAE.current.account. ZERO....too...ZERO...WUN...ONE...2 press ONE.

So you press one. Foryour HSBC.UAE.Savings.account.. 0..2...0...0...FIVE...0. Press ONE.

And that's it. You can't actually choose the account to credit and the account to debit. It's broken. Bust. Kaput. Borked. Non-functional. Usefully challenged. Without point. Eff all use.

So, heart heavy, you call the call centre. 

"Hello. Your IVR is broken."

"I'm sorry sir, I didn't understand you. Did you want to have your car washed, top up your credit card or craunch a marmoset?"

"No, I just want to tell someone at the bank that the new IVR is functionally broken. It won't let me transfer between accounts." I nearly say it's pining for the fjords but remember in time that you never, ever try to make a joke with the HSBC call centre or F16 strikes are called down on your house.

"I know the new IVR is complex sir and hard to understand and I appreciate your difficulty. Can I do the transfer for you?"

"But you're just reciting a script you've been given because of the high volume of complaints you're getting and that doesn't alter the fact or escalate the information to someone who could act on it that the IVR is actually functionally non-functional. Ineffective. Not fit for purpose."

"Yes. Umm. No. Is there anything else I can do for you today?"

They're taping the call. I hang up because I know what I want to say won't read well in the court transcript of my verbal abuse case.

I hate them. With a passion.

But then you know that...


Grumpy Goat said...

"Are you recording this call?"

"Yes Mr Goat. All calls are recorded."

"Good. Then play this recording to your supervisor so that he or she may bear witness to your incompetence, unhelpfulness, failure to assist a valued customer, and downright lies."

"Oh, no, sir. We only record for training purposes..."

Rootless said...

And yet you still bank with them when other banks are available. As a two-time refugee from HSBC UAE (I had to flee again when they acquired the Lloyds' branch here), I can confirm that banking life is so much better elsewhere apart from the fact that it offers less fodder for amusing (if perhaps now a little repetitive and whiny) blog posts...

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