Saturday, February 14, 2009

heights of automation: (im)personalized bankiing

I was among the first few hundreds of customers, when this bank launched their mainly off-branch service model.
time was, ATMs were not that common and using electronic banking was also a fancy.
those days, i used to get a printed statement or communication from the bank once a quarter or six months.

i had given a letter to the branch about 3 weeks ago. since then,  in the last 3 weeks, i [and my wife] received 6 snail mails - that had the following messages:
- we have updated your mailing address as requested
- we have updated your email address as requested
- we have updated your phone number as requested
all these mails were received in duplicate with identical content - each copy addressed to one of us!

today was the height:
it was a thank you note - that ran:
'We have observed that you had not been operating your account in the last six months. We are glad to note that you have resumed operations on the same recently. In case you require any assistance on the account, please contact us.
We thank you for banking with us
Sincerely Yours
Manager.'

no name. no street address.only a PO Box #.

i can understand that with automation, such letters can be generated automatically when some transaction is detected by the computer system.

i remember the 'letter to Mom' template that used to be part of the MS-Office installation many versions ago.
that used to talk of how everything was getting impersonalized and even writing to Mom might one day be templated...' etc etc etc

getting back to this bank that never sleeps - what i found most amusing was the letter that I had given to the bank was a request to close the account.

and, these letters started arriving AFTER i received a confirmation of account closure.

maybe it is the sleep deprivation that is making the computers also overworked and fatigued.
so much for personalized banking.
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