Down the Docks

February 8, 2006

Natwest “Actionline” Telephone Banking

Filed under: Bad Customer Service — ealing @ 1:28 am

The automated menu took me through to somebody with whom I could talk about my existing borrowing. This person could neither close an account with a balance of zero (and no activity for about a year), nor even tell me how much it would cost to fully repay a graduate loan. She suggested I talk to the loans people, who won’t be in until eight a.m.

Just as I was about to get off the phone, she noticed that I have a personal banking manager (you know, because I’m so incredibly wealthy), and that all of these questions would therefore have to be routed through that person. I’m so special, it seems, that I can only be helped by one person. Marvellous.



  1. Sorry that you had bad service from Actionline, but I have always received a courteous response from whomever answers the calls. Unfortunately, in the real world, it is virtually impossible to get the level of service to suit all of our needs, as they are so varied, and it wasn’t that your questions/actions could not be met, just that you wanted them to be met by one person at the time of your call. You did not want to be helped further by being passed onto another person that could help you further. You were offered the option to be passed onto the person who could further your queries, but you obviously felt that the person who answered you call should be able to deal with everything. If this were the case, and you were dealt with by the operator, you would have held up the call queue, and then you would have said that it was hours before you call was taken, so the operator is in a no win situation. I can only assume that in whatever line of business you are in you are able to take a client or customer through from point of contact through to a mutually happy conclusion on all occassions to all events and queries, to which you should be applauded, but because you are in a position to do so, please be a little more lenient with those who are struggling to work under the restraints of their job confinements. I should also imagine that if you were as short tempered and sarcastic with the person who took your call as your written words demonstrate, she/he was probably glad to get you off the line!

    Comment by Jackie Walker — September 2, 2006 @ 10:40 am

  2. Believe it or not, I don’t blame the people who answer the phones for the inadequacy of the service. I’ve worked in a call centre before, and I know how much say the people on the phones get in how things work. I blame the people who design the customer contact processes.
    Also, I can see that I didn’t make it clear that my personal banking manager wasn’t available – my bad.

    My complaints are that:
    – I was routed through to someone that couldn’t help me, and was told that I would have to wait for a dayshift for what I thought was a simple request, and
    – Since I passed some magical income threshold, it’s harder to get many services from Natwest, as I’m always referred to one of a small number of people. I don’t find this helpful – I believe I was better off in service terms before I had a personal banking manager.

    Comment by ealing — September 2, 2006 @ 12:43 pm

  3. Closing an account isn’t a simple request.

    Comment by James Printer — April 24, 2007 @ 8:05 pm

  4. Firstly thanks for sharing your problem. While I guess I don’t so much agree that’s not to mean your complaint is invalid. It’s almost impossible to tell that a problem is caused by the company(which can be helped) or the situation/environment (which can’t). I do agree, however that it’s usually how the system’s designed and not the staff.

    My opinion on the issue is:
    To keep the increases in productivity in the West, labour has become more specialised. The result being more efficiency and cheaper prices with the downside of having to wait longer or pay higher to get the correct expert service.

    Just having to wait a day to get the right specialist advice for something that’s not an emergency but still complicated doesn’t seem wrong especially if you called in the evening.

    Comment by john stafford — January 7, 2008 @ 6:21 pm

  5. July, 2008 —

    Just who ARE those people you call every day — who give you troubleshooting tips, sales slogans, prepaid phone minutes driving directions and bank balances?

    Have you ever wondered where THEY go once you hang up the phone?

    HANDLE TiME (ISBN-13: 9780615215181) — the third novel by coveted, cult-pen, LiNCOLN PARK — is the saucy and searing story which unmasks the inner workings, deep dishes and policy wonkings of a nationwide call center. PARENTAL ADVISORY

    Available at and See the Video on YOU TUBE

    Comment by LiNCOLN PARK — July 29, 2008 @ 12:33 am

  6. I have been with Actionline for over 12 years and I would not use anything else.. they have not missed anything or screwed up..if you hold for a human you always get someone who appears to enjoy their job! Sorry to hear of any problems…

    Comment by Pedros143 — August 4, 2008 @ 9:26 am

  7. I was going to add a comment to this old post saying that I had got somethign done via Actionline. I got through to a human quickly, she explained my options to me, and really did seem to want to help me.

    She told me to go along to my nearest branch, where they could print a statement for me and stamp it. Went to the branch, was told it was impossible. Another 15 minutes of my life wasted by Actionline.

    I will be leaving this bank fairly soon now. Seriously Natwest, what’s so difficult about making sure your customer-facing staff know how the bank works?

    Comment by ealing — May 27, 2009 @ 2:34 pm

  8. I like many already posted have been entirely satisfied with the service up until today when I came to pay a Natwest credit card. This was a replacement for a card withdrawn having been used fraudulently. I could not set this new card up for automated payment, from now on I must pay this card through the operator only… and this is progress, I was happy with the old arrangement for 12 years plus.

    Comment by Tony — April 23, 2013 @ 9:28 pm

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