So, I went to my bank today to make a routine business deposit. I was surprised to not recognize a single Teller in the branch, as I’m a regular there and know many of the staff. My Teller was clearly in training. She typed away on her keyboard for at least 2 minutes without making eye contact with me or even explaining what she was doing. It was taking so long that I thought something was wrong. After another 3 minutes had passed and no interaction had taken place, I asked if something was wrong. “No.” she replied. “I’m new and I just have to get some overrides.” With that, she disappeared into the back.
After a good 4 minutes had passed, I got the attention of a Teller walking by and asked if he could check with my Teller. I was in a bit of a hurry to pick my son up from school. Never imagined I’d be in the bank this long. The Teller came back to tell me my Teller was on the phone with another bank and she’d be out shortly. Ok. Weird.
Several minutes passed and finally my Teller walked out and explained, “Your check is good. I just called the issuing bank and verified funds. But since I’m new I have to have a manager’s initials. I can’t locate a manager after calling 4 branches.” And she handed me my check and deposit slip. I was seriously confused and I said, “So, you’re giving me back my check when I came to deposit it?” “Yes,” she said, “Because I can’t find a manager to initial this.” I asked what I was supposed to do and she literally told me to try another branch.
What went wrong here? This bank needed to have a mentor to shadow the new-hire to show her how to communicate with customers while waiting on the computer and on-hold on the phone. When several new employees are working at a branch/location/area, a veteran employee needs to be on stand-by to offer assistance. If management approval is needed for anything at all, managers must be standing at the ready to help employees help customers. It is absolutely absurd that an employee would not be able to reach a manager and that a customer would be sent to another branch across town.
The bottom line: Management must be onsite and immediately available to help employees help customers. When management is not available, employees need to be empowered to make decisions to help customers.