RBS Boss in Huge Pay Deal

June 22, 2009 by  

brokenpiggybank1I can not get my head around these fat cat bosses with million pound salaries. Hot on the heels of Sir Fred Goodwin still being paid an enormous pension, we now have the new Chief Executive, Stephen Hester negotiating a salary of almost £9.6 million, if the press is to be believed.

The package allegedly is made up of £1.2m in pay, up to £2m in non-cash bonuses and up to £6.4 m in long-term incentives. And yet, according to the BBC – in February, Mr Hester told the Treasury Committee: “I do think banking pay in some areas of the industry is way too high and needs to come down and I intend us to lead that process.”

Hypocritical or what?

The trouble is the further up these people seem to go within large corporations the more they forget about us little people. Maybe they need bigger binoculars to have a look at us mere mortals.

In times of recession do they reduce the banking charges for people to give them a helping hand no, they just hike the fees up without a care.

I went into NatWest recently which is now owned by Royal Bank of Scotland and was asked if I’d like to complete a customer satisfaction survey. Unfortunately for the lovely lady who asked me, she ended up having her ear bent on why I hate going in to the branch. Suffice to say the box on the survey form was not big enough for me even to write my first sentence.

So if I were to write to Mr Hester (which I had intended to do if I had an address) here is the letter.

Firstly, may I congratulate you on the newest advert I saw recently for mobile banking. Very friendly and believable and it brought back memories of how NatWest used to be when I worked there over 20 years ago.

A brilliant idea taking banking to areas where people need it I especially loved the line in it where the customer says “it’s nice to see a friendly face”, and the NatWest staff member says “you don’t get that from a cash machine do you” or words to that effect.

It really made me sit up and take notice of you as a bank.

Now, lets step back to last week, where I visited a local branch of NatWest. I go in about once a week to pay cheques in, but the majority of my banking I do on-line And there’s a reason for that. I can complete tasks on line a lot quicker than it would take for them to get sorted in the branch nowadays. I have to go to the branch to pay cheques in because there isn’t the technology to do that from home yet.

So I was standing in the queue and a very lovely member of staff asked me if I’d like to pay my cheques into the paying in machine. “Have you got the stamp” I asked. “No, she said we’ve stopped doing that”. This was the process where if a queue had built up a member of staff from in the banking hall would take your paying in book, stamp in and you’d be on your way. Call me old fashioned, but if I come in to pay cheques in, I like the book stamped. The cold faceless machines inside the branch are not what I came in for.

“I hate coming in here” I told this lady. “Do you?” she replied, “why is that?”. After reasssuring her it wasn’t any individual staff I had a problem with, I explained that it was the general service in branch.

Being an ex member of staff is usually the worst type of customer you can have, because I have something solid to compare the level of service with. And I have to tell you, the Bank has it so wrong.

During my chat with the lovely lady she explained that within my branch they would soon be installing more machines for paying in, withdrawing money etc and removing some of the counter staff. After seeing my incredulous look, she agreed with me that this is not what customers want.

You would assume that because I do on-line banking I would welcome this use of computers within the branch, but no I don’t. If I have to go in a branch to pay in money then I want to do it with someone greeting me with a smile. I choose on line at home because of the ineptitude within the branches and I can do it far more quickly.

So have you asked customers why they use the branch and what they would like to see? I bet not. A good piece of advice I had years ago when setting up systems for a company I worked for was “who are the systems for?” Meaning are they to make life easier for your customers or yourself (ie the company).

Elderly people without a doubt like the chat factor. People generally like to be served quickly at the counter. When I worked for the bank we had a really simple system that if you were serving a customer at the till and two more people were waiting in the queue, you called for back up. Everyone in the back room was till trained and there was a rota as to who went on first. It worked, people got served quickly and the till operator could go back to their other job straight after. I have lost count of the number of people who stand in the queue and complain, unfortunately no one takes it further and ultimately leave it to have another moan the next time they’re in the queue.

Today, I feel that the roles have been diluted so much, there is no multi skilling. This is clearly seen in the interaction between branches and the call centres. There is no urgency any more, it’s the given that tasks that would take a few hours to sort out years ago now take days. All you want people to do is sell your goods and products, not provide a good old fashioned service. And if you did, you would take the lead in the banking world.

You have no idea what people want and if you think you do with your new advert, then again you are being a hypocrite by putting faceless machines into branches and then having someone on telly saying “you don’t get that from a cash machine do you” in response to a customer saying “it’s nice to see a friendly face”.

Rant over.


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