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Thursday, November 23rd, 2023, 2:19 am

No, I Will NOT Download Your ‘App’ (I Won’t Buy a ‘Smart’ Phone, Either)

I wrote about the misuse of technology to worsen customer service just less than a day ago and thought I’d expand in my personal blog, based on a personal story.

Just over a day ago I went to the local bank and then visited 2 more banks. I could not help but notice that the people facing public at the bank are young and inexperienced, maybe by intention. This makes them not only cheap to employ but also rather useless as advisors or whatever else you might need. It’s like talking to an intern, not even a clerk, or a person herding people into “apps”/self-checkout (the latter is a good analogy for what bank “apps” actually are).

I spoke to a friend about it and he told me it is the same at the one remaining bank office where he lives. He said “they probably get minimum wage, if that…”

Maybe part-time temporary hanging by a thread, obeying every request from just about anyone else in the branch.

Just for the record, Nationwide had a young and borderline rude ‘clerk’, who wasn’t even a clerk and was totally not helpful, probably even lying to prevent me talking to the supervisor (lying is bad, no matter what). At NatWest, however, they had like a 50-year old, who not only escorted me for advice at the cushy office but also phoned the number for me and let me have the room for myself (to talk to “Richard” over the telephone). I thanked her at the end. That was good service. In the past I ranted a lot about NatWest, but on that occasion the service was better. Having said that, they too try to send people to “apps” and “Web sites”…

I am neither young or old, so I can probably not be accused of ageism when I say older workers tend to be nicer, at least at banks; or as a friend put it, “probably the youngest are not just rude but full of rage and lash out or more commonly just plain mean…”

I said that when you are 20-25 and have no prospect of long-term career in the discipline, the desire to learn in depth the job – and its context – may diminish because there is something to be said about giving assurances to professionals and consistent specialities.

But this leads me to the main subject/purpose of this post, which is to rant about banks expecting people to carry around a mobile “phone” and then install (and in turn learn) proprietary “apps” instead of doing things over the counter. According to media in Zimbabwe, as per a report from the other day, banks there got rid of about 75% of their workers. Not only is this bad for employment; it also means that many services previously done by skilled people are no longer offered. The banks go through a process of “enshittification” for the purpose of “cost-savings” and we all – collectively – pay the price. Resist and don’t let them get away with it. Demand that they have staff you can speak to, not some “app” you can download if you carry around a spying device (you ought not).

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