What happened to Howard?

What has happened to that well trusted and respected ‘we give you extra’ brand Halifax?

I am not sure if you or your clients have any recent experiences of paying in money to open up a 1 year fixed rate cash ISA? If their experience was anything like mine I suspect that in future the Halifax’s breathtakingly arrogant way of dealing with its customers will see a considerable reduction in new business.

The process to check if account details to pay monies into a Halifax account are correct goes something like this:

  • Dial a number from the website, the call is auto answered.
  • Then a message about caring about the customer experience is played and you are asked if you would like to provide feedback after the call, I so dislike that!
  • Wait for 10.41 minutes to get the call answered, this would not help in any post call feedback of ideas
  • The call is eventually answered by a female with a Liverpool accent so strong it was almost unintelligible
  • Security questions asked
  • Security passed
  • Account details checked and confirmed all OK- time taken now 14.38 minutes
  • The call centre assistant was then asked to check my wife’s account details were correct.
  • The response was that this was not possible because the computer screen only allowed one request to be actioned.
  • My frustration was expressed but the brick wall had been hit. Time taken so far 18.23 minutes
  • I asked to speak with a manager ; a sometimes dangerous move as I have a sense that any such requests often mean you being placed in telecoms oblivion, never to speak with anyone again until you redial and go through the whole painful process again.

At that point I was put on hold and after call duration of 20.53 minutes I spoke to ‘Dave’ (surname not given as it is not Halifax policy to do so). I asked him if he would agree that the time taken and the fact that two individual queries cannot be dealt with in a single call was an acceptable way to treat customers looking to deposit money into cash ISA accounts.

‘Dave’ had no view on the subject but did set about providing a view to a question that had not been asked. After three more attempts on my part to get an answer I realised that another brick wall in Liverpool had been hit. ‘Dave’ has no ability to think outside the script and as a result was unable or unwilling to commit to a view on the problems outlined. The call duration was now 24.49 minutes.

‘Dave’ very kindly offered to launch me back into the system to allow my wife’s account details to be confirmed. I graciously accepted and after call duration of 32.07 minutes a call centre assistant who could actually speak in an intelligible way took the call.

My wife was ID’d, questions asked, answered and fond farewells were said after 36.23 minutes.

I normally have some sympathy toward the problems that financial institutions have in dealing with calls but this Halifax example of caring, sharing beggars belief and should be seen as a masterclass in how to really upset your customers without even trying.

Halifax customer service, if my experience is a bellweather, is simply ‘shite’.

The ‘people who give you extra’ do not quantify what that extra is.

I can assist them in that department if they cared to listen, but as with all organisations that go big on brand image creating a real style over substance offering, they do not want to hear, they are incapable of a corporate listen. They talk the talk but fall over after the first steps of the walk.

Get grip Halifax, nobody should have to put up with this type of treatment.

Howard Brown left the Halifax in 2011, after bosses decided he was ‘too jolly’.

Well nobody is laughing now.


Read more at www.panaceaadviser.com


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