Standard Chartered’s customer experience driving people to other banks

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Update: Standard Chartered charged me Rs.1000 to put a stop on the stolen checkbook, saying “its for your own security”. I know I sound like a consumer, but that’s absurd!

It’s not my fault the book was stolen why tax the victim for “being a bank who’s there for them in times of trouble”?

All banks should thank Standard Chartered bank in Pakistan for building a fantastic marketing department for other banks: SCB calls it the customer service dept.

Confused? I’m hearing about more and more people — high volume to personal banking — moving all of their assets out of SCB and moving to other banks purely because of poor customer experience.

I’ll admit I am on the verge of doing the same. SCB service has been very poor, and has become worse since the merger with Union Bank.

This weekend, my checkbook was stolen. It’s taken a whole day just to report that incident to the bank so that they put a bar on that checkbook.

Here is my own experience with them (literally):

  1. Called my personal banker, he redirected to the help line
  2. Help line says they can help me with everything else except putting a bar on a checkbook, for that I would have to come in person to the bank branch (20min drive away)
  3. Called my banker again, he redirected me to another branch nearby me.
  4. They redirected to the branch where I opened my account, and gave me the Operations Manager number
  5. Operations Manager doesn’t pick up his phone, nor does he have voicemail.
  6. Called the branch front desk, the person understood the problem and said she’ll transfer me… after a minute on hold the call was disconnected.
  7. Called Operations Manager again, he referred me back to the local branch, but asked me to go in person
  8. Went to the branch, talked to the main counter, he said it cannot happen
  9. Then he checked with his supervisor, who referred me to a personal banker at the branch
  10. Personal banker calculated a few things manually, then went over to the senior PSA
  11. Printer refused to work, it took three people to get a bank statement printed
  12. The Senior PSA came back after a while and was rude enough to give me a clear message that his blissful day of zen had been disturbed the minute I walked in with a problem.
  13. They had me sign a few papers, and took them to someone behind the scene, and I was asked to wait
  14. Someone from the counter (who was 5 paces away from me) said “You! YOU! Yes you there! Come here!” flicking his fingers as a gesture.
  15. Finally, he slammed a confirmation paper on the counter and walked off — no exchange of words.

I’m not exaggerating here. As further proof, while I was there another customer walks in with a disheveled face. Here’s the conversation he had:

  1. “I need to withdraw cash from….”
  2. “Oh for that you’ll have to go to the F-7”
  3. “But I just came from the F-10 branch who directed me to you guys”
  4. “Maybe they meant the other branch in this sector. You could go there”
  5. “Will they let me withdraw this cash?”
  6. “I dont know, hold on” …
  7. Phone call with other branch people “…. wait? You mean its not even in F7? Uhuh…”
  8. “Well sir, they cant do it here either. You’ll have to go to F7”

Now, this said and done, I dont think its that SCB doesn’t care about customer service — their agents were all friendly and tried to help (except for the senior PSA and the guy who slammed the confirmation).

The trouble I think is that there is no master FAQ system in place which tells their people the answers to common queries. The problem is they usually just dont know how the system works and who can help the customer.

I confirmed this by asking one of the CReps — for their fresh inductees they have a 1-week training session and then assign them on the floor to “figure it out as it happens”.

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6 Comments

  • We have been suffering at the hands of SCB for over five years as our coporation needs an international bank to operate and this is our only choice. This is the worst bank ever.
    If you open an account they take 4 weeks to give you your check book and ATM card. reason it is being sent from Karachi. you open an account in MCB or UBL they give you every thing in 5 days.

    Here is my Experience. due to the problems that you have to go personally to the account branch I was delighted that a branch opened near my house Lalik Jan Chowk DHA Lahore. My original account was at Garden town branch (For which i was fed up due to their mistakes and absurd services). any way i went to standard chartered. said i want to open account. the represntative gives me a form i fill it up he asks for reference i say i already have an account in your bank. he says in any way you need reference (huh ?) any way i take out the form get reference submit the form back at the bank. after one month i go back to the branch ack what happened he says ohh you form had this mistake so i corrected signed ( I asked why did you not call me he says i forgot :)) then after another two weeks i go back there and after waiting for the person for 20 minutes (he was out of office and no body knew where ) he came back i said what did you do with my account he says and i quote “Sir you will have to close your previous account with SCB to open this account because our system in Karachi is not allowing you to have another account” I said and you couldn’t call me to tell this. and sorry comes once again.
    Now i don’t know what kind of system they have in place which actually does not allow you to have an account.
    Now i Withdraw all my money the first day it received my salary account.

  • Sorry to read about your experiences. I have account with SCB since last 10 years, originally it was in ANZ Grindlays and when SCB acquired it, the account moved to SCB.

    I have found their service to go down since last few months, especially after their acquisition of Union Bank. I think this is the price you pay for expansion without planning, that is, you loose the base and eventually fell flat on the nose.

    Whenever I have issues I usually go to their web site and launch a complaint there. The response time is 2 days but issues resolved for sure.

  • Update: Just saw your update and thought to share my experience about that. I was charged Rs. 900 for a cheque that I sent to somebody and was lost in mail (so you got it cheap, 1K for whole book). Recently I paid Rs. 310 for a payorder. I was told that local banks do it for less than Rs. 50. What a ripoff.

  • not to forget they charge you Rs 50 per leaf of check book and Rs 50 when you try to en-cash it(When your account is below their limit which is High!) so using a cheque costs 100 rs vs 2 rs for other banks

  • switch to Bank Alfalah and let the branch manager know why you shifted from SCB… they’re always accommodating and customer friendly… i shifted from ABN Amro to Alflah coz of individual personalized banking services they’re providing me..

  • we are not asking for any loan we are just keeping
    OUR money in current account and even then if they
    don’t treat us properly and don’t give reasonable service then hell with that bank.. just switch to better alternative like i did…

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