Archive for април, 2010

Bank adversity

“SoooOo.. Do you like it in the UK? Are you a student? What are you studying? Do you like your course?” What is this pseudo familiarity? Did you see that bored face? In the end it said „Thank you! Have a nice day! Thank you!“ It also showed some teeth – that was supposed to be a smile. And then you could see yourself running towards the exit away from this bored face with all the strength this energy vampire had left you. This face got caught in the routine, it looked like it was being polite, because this had been implanted in its head during the induction or at a consequent training. Where is the individual attention?oh, wait that’s supposed to be it. Do you call this proper customer service? It felt like I have phoned one of those automotive answering machine: “ To go to your voicemail press 2…” But there is a big DIFFERENCE. The automotive menu will lead you somewhere and with the bored bank officer, it leads only to more annoying visits to the bank, because they are so discouraged they do not do they job properly. There could be other reasons for this: ignorance, personal problems, might be new etc. But I still believe that if you do love your job, you will find a way to do it well, you will learn with time.  Obviously that accountant did not enjoy it.

I already know the staff in the local branch. I can tell you how it goes almost every time I go there. If it’s the lady with the red top, I doubt she loves red that much, it looks like she is wearing it more because this is the color of the bank, to keep the brand promoted. So if she opens the door for me and takes my name down, I will get the response “Oh, Monika like my mum”. Next time when I pay a visit to that branch (which will be next Monday according to my schedule) and she asks me for my name I am so gonna say “Monika like your mum”. I know this is considered rude at least in this country, but I am tired of having problems with my bank accounts. When I opened my bank account about two years ago, they sent my card in Bulgaria. Why there is a “temporary address” section on the form? For decoration? This is not a Xmas tree! But the girl in the office was so busy asking all the generic questions that she forgot to tick the box where to send my debit card. Why not in Bulgaria? Go, go, girl! Somebody needs to support the Royal Mail with pointless deliveries.

After the first painful year, I was still with the same bank. It’s not like I didn’t try to change, but the bureaucracy in the UK works in such a way that if you are a foreigner you keep subsidizing the banks every month and you have very few other options. In order the get a proper bank account, you got to wait a year.  If you change your bank, this wait will have to start from the beginning. My first 12 months were gone, it felt like a sentence coming to an end. So going back to my favorite office to move on to the next level, maybe freedom.  Good luck, Monika, “like my mum”! The next level for them is to pay them more. Agreed.  I had to travel at that point and changing my bank would have been just too much additional work and inconvenience. Came back and went straight to the office AGAIN. The same bored girl, the same tedious questions, the same story: “Our premium account is the best for you”- Dude, I am a student, I need a free account, how many times I have explained this? In a couple of months I will not be in this country, I still need an English bank account, I simply do not want to feed more money in your system, it’s enough you can play around with my savings. Pointless meeting after 2 hours, I walked out with the same 8-pound-per-month debit account.

And lastly, yesterday, oh, miracle! The lady in red met me at the door. I kind of liked her “Monika like my mum” this time. Then I got an appointment with an account specialist who was absolutely amazing. It’s true he was all over the place. His printer was chucking paper on the floor with the speed of light, so the mess was absolutely inrretrievable. He didn’t ask me A question which wasn’t relevant to the opening of my new bank account, but watching him fighting with the printer was entertaining enough. He was so into fulfilling my request, that I could not believe it. I just hope everything is alright and this is not just a mirage that will disappear as soon as I start using my new bank account. He is one of the people who do love their jobs. His lunch break was postponed, because of my case. He looked so joyful like a surfer, who just got a perfect wave, feeling alive again, because he is back in the water after days of windless weather. All the terms like job satisfaction and job fulfillment made sense in a flutter of colibri wings. This guy is engaged, knows his ultimate goal – helping customers, actually believes in the values  that the bank is promoting  and he is following them, he did go and extra mile for a customer and I am sure he does it for everyone that goes in the office.

I simply do not understand why we need all the set of pointless questions about myself, the best customer service is to finish the job, do your best, show genuine interest in what you are doing, rather than the generic behavior that will ultimately lead to boredom with the work at hand and disengagement. Now going back to my essay about employee engagement 😀 😀 😀  and you have a HaPpY Day!

Replication

When I was a kid, I loved walking my dog in the forest, especially during the winter. It is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Everything looks white, innocent, purified. I can see where people before me have passed, because their steps have left muddy marks in the white snow. Intentionally I don’t walk in the same path, I am carving my own. Some places are very difficult to get through, because it’s a steep mountain area. Then I follow Terry, my dog. Energetic and happy it’s free to run around, it moves fast and vigorously towards the top. If it goes that way, probably that is the easiest way to continue, it follows its instincts and nature should be perfect, no mistakes in survival skills are allowed. Nonetheless, sometimes I end up sliding downhill on rocks, among bushes, finishing all in dust with a few bruises. Still go back home with a smile on my face, because I have tried a path, nobody has tried before me. You probably think I am stupid or at least unpractical, but that was a place where I could be myself with no limits, no borders, explore the forest the way I wanted, following only nature when I could not find a solution myself. Now my dog is gone. Nature might be perfect, but not infinite. It is quite hard to repeat its patterns and methods, but in life people can and do replicate each other. It is pretty hard to be original in era when most of the possible scenarios have been played. Have you noticed when you tell a story that someone else has told you, you use the same expressions and jokes, things that you have liked in his/her story telling. You simply replicate them. You feel special and original when people laugh at the jokes, but then it’s not really you telling the story. Still most masterpieces in human history are replicas. Some arts purpose is to duplicate. Look at painting, sculpture or photography, it’s a replication of reality. You give your own twist to it, but it’s still a replica, maybe some people would prefer the word ‘expression’. It’s replication! for me. It doesn’t mean something bad, though, it is beautiful, sometimes even better that the original.

Look at what your goal throughout your education years is. You replicate. In earlier stage you read and retell lessons: history, biology, etc. Later you continue this process of repetition, but probably a little thinking is demanded to melt the knowledge in a pot and extract just the needed one. Some people like me never master this skill and are left lost in the moody ocean of knowledge. You try to put fit it in limits, categories, but it simply overflows.

Going back to replication. Look at business models, all you need to do is pick an existing one or combine a couple of the successful ones and call it yours. The drinking water is already invented, you just have to bottled it and put a label on top and create a sweet marketing campaign such as  1 litter for 10 litters for Africa ( I really like this one <3) 😀 You will not be the first to use people’s conscience to sell them some MORE 🙂 So no worries, replication also reduces the moral responsibility. If someone has already done it and is still doing it, it cannot be that bad 🙂 Is this why you are still smoking?

As the two Swedish dudes write in their book “Funky business” – today about 70% of the scientists ever lived on earth are walking around.Wow! Sounds shocking! Human kind is speeding up on the development ladder by using replication and synthesis. From the latter you need just a drop, not too much effort. But if our progress is based on replication, why experts in HR field keep repeating originality and creativity are the key to be the best : )Maybe it’s just originally and creatively replicate the knowledge you already have…