Ah, one of life’s great questions – does size matter? In winding up my Dad’s affairs I’ve had to deal with a number of financials institutions lately, and the service I’ve experienced from them has differed markedly. The best service has come from Monmouthshire Building Society and Nationwide Building Society. I’ll come back to them and why I think they’ve cracked it later in this post. For now – let’s get the bad guys out of the way:
Credit Suisse – Award for Confusion
Credit Suisse at first refused to return my Dad’s death certificate and then followed up with a series of forms to fill out, each one duller and more complicated than the previous. Trying to find their phone number is like looking for a needle in a haystack, and the disinterested way with which I was dealt with kinda left me thinking I wish I’d found the needle instead and used it to gently stab myself in the eye.
National Savings – Award for Speed
After waiting longer for National Savings to answer the phone than all the other organisations, once I got through to them they rushed and harried me like no other company could. I’ve never felt hassled off the phone so quickly, each question felt like a total inconvenience to them, each request for more information met with a sense of reluctance and unpleasantness. I’ll wager the staff are measured on call times or some other dumb pointless thing that drives them to deliver awful service. I feel for the people in the National Savings call centre, from my experience it felt like a totally crap place to work. I realise that for most things the Government provides, we have no choice but to use them, but come on – you’re operating in a competitive market place here!
Now back to the good guys.
Monmouthshire and Nationwide Building Societies – Joint Award for Being Human
The Nationwide has a bereavement team. You get given their number when you first inform them of the death and thereafter, everything is dealt with sympathetically and straightforwardly. In the case of the Monmouthshire, I was fortunate to deal with Kim. Every phone call, every piece of correspondence was between the two of us. I was listened to, and as a result of listening, Kim was able to deal with my claim proactively and supportively. Thanks Kim.
The Monmouthshire has total assets of £742m, and Nationwide has £196,129m. Both are small compared to Credit Suisse’s asset pile of £1,049,165m, and the UK Government, which owns assets values at £337bn. And both Monmouthshire and Nationwide are mutual societies, run explicitly for the benefit of their members. Credit Suisse are a plc, and the UK Government is, well it is what it is.
So from my experience, the size and ownership structure of companies matters. It seems to make it easier for employees to exceed my reasonable service expectations, willingly too. What do you think?