Mar 8, 2011

Discombobulated UnionBank

I had to deposit at UnionBank in Shaw, Pasig City today. I took my number (62 in the queue) and discovered that the teller was currently processing #52. Good I thought. Just 10 people before me. It was 12:00 pm. There was only one teller serving us. My number said "Single Transactions," meaning, this was their express lane.

By 12:20, I still wasn't served. The lone teller was only processing #53. More customers were arriving since this was lunch time.

Then a second teller arrived at 12:30. Good, I thought. The second teller started calling and processing 54, then 55. Then she stopped and started doing something else. She and the other teller even had the gall to engage in light banter with customer 54 who apparently they knew.

So now, both tellers were doing something else, in front of the queue of customers, oblivious. The manager appeared three times, only to get some papers from the tellers, also oblivious.

Customers beside me were sleeping, tolerant of what was happening. This is very Pinoy. But I hadn't eaten and I needed to be elsewhere and my process improvement skills were screaming in my head.

By 12: 50, I've had enough. I approached the manager and asked if they had no express lane and that I've waited for almost an hour. The manager, to her credit, apologized and gave an excuse that they were processing too many checks. I was going to retort, "I don't care about your checks, just process my deposit." But I stifled it since she offered me a solution. She said she'd just take my deposit, issue me a receipt and have it processed by today. I agreed and left.

Clearly, the management at this particular branch had no regard for its customers. Since it was lunch break, the disregard was all the more pronounced. I am sure many of the customers waiting in line had not eaten lunch.

Lessons for bank managers:

  • Observe the arrival of customers especially at peak hours like lunch and coffee break.
  • If a line gets longer than 3 people, then get the other tellers to help. (In fact, there were more tellers at the back, just chatting up people at New Accounts.)
  • Assign batch tasks (processing several transactions) to tellers hidden from the customer's view. It is atrocious to make tellers do these unrelated tasks right in front of the customers waiting in line. Probably, the tellers at New Accounts should have been assigned the batch tasks instead.
  • Focus on the customers and the flow of transactions. 
  • UnionBank in this branch had about 20 chairs occupying most of the space. If anything, this is a sign that your processing time for each customer is too long such that you have to provide seats for this number of customers!

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