In the world of banking, the people on the front lines of the industry are known as tellers. These are the people who are expected to help customers with all of their day to day banking needs. It is often a thankless and miserable position to hold. These are their stories. These are their legends…
I know. It’s hard to believe that someone as awesome as me would suck at anything. But it’s true. It’s a fact that I came to embrace. And now I share that difficulty and weakness with you, my loyal readers. It’s almost cathartic.
One morning, I had a brief meeting with my manager. He made it clear that the point of our discussion was not to make me think that I suck at my job. No, those were my words. The manager just wanted me to be aware of what a tough position I was in. Not that I was about to be fired or anything like that. He was referring to my position as the drive through teller.
The Powers That Be had, at that point, recently rolled out a new customer service scoring system. If you’ve ever had a bank teller run a transaction for you before, there’s a good chance you’ve gotten one of those survey phone calls asking you to rank your experience with the bank. They introduced that system about a month before that “you suck” conversation and, with that introduction, I apparently had a shaky start. I scored a zero on my very first interview.
To be fair, the scoring was a bit unfair. See, the customers being surveyed were given a 1-10 scale in which to score their tellers. But the score only counted for the teller if they received a 9 or a 10. Anything less than that counted as a zero. Does that sound fair to you? Me neither. Turns out, I got all 7s and 8s on my first interview. So even if the customer surveyed thought the 7s and 8s were pretty good scores, they counted for nothing. So I got the zero.
I had that little stall at the start of the survey thing. And I wasn’t the only one But I was the one being picked on. The manager decided that, because I was at the drive through, I had a really hard time connecting to customers and achieving those perfect scores that the Powers That Be expected to see every single time. When other branch managers were asked how they dealt with the drive through customer service issue, the answer, unanimously, was that they changed drive through tellers.
Did that mean I would be yanked off the drive through? No, it didn’t. Not at that point, anyway. It was a possibility, but I was pretty sure it wouldn’t happen. Because everyone else despised the drive through, at least as much as I did. In the meantime, the zero I got caused me to be the one that got asked, “How can you change that?”
It’s not as if I was really being picked on. The manager made it clear that he felt my pain as the drive through teller. This new customer service survey system was very touchy-feely. This was not a thing that was conducive to the drive through lane. I got a few seconds with those folks in their cars. They had a tendency to be in a hurry, so they had a tendency to value speed over conversation. But without conversation, it was difficult to make them feel all warm and fuzzy about their banking experience, thus, it was difficult to get a 10 on that score out of anyone.
I did find it interesting that my next three interviews were all perfect scores. But the PTB didn’t want to recognize that. No need for positive reinforcement here. They just wanted to point at the zero and figure out how to fix it. Well, apparently I fixed it before you even pointed out there was a problem. Jerks.
As an epilogue to this story, I informed the manager that I would do the job to the best of my ability, in all aspects. I was pretty decent when it came to faking the customer service concerns (obviously, since I had managed to get a few perfect scores). But when it came to selling stuff and referring customers to the higher ups, I just wasn’t good at it. It would have been easy to blame the drive through for that, because, as I mentioned above, I didn’t get a lot of talk time with those people. But it wouldn’t have been any better if I worked the lobby. I wasn’t good at talking with people about extra crap the bank had to offer. I just wasn’t comfortable with it. Therefore, I admitted to the manager that I just was not cut out for banking.
I’d love to tell you that my time in banking was coming to an end by this point. But I still had a ways to go…